Easy oven-baked bolognaise
Spring has sprung!
Well … not really because we’ve had lots of wind and rain. Also, I’m wearing about 45 layers to stay warm on the bike. The only advantage to which is that if I come off, I will bounce along the road in all my protective clothing.
This seems like a good thing when it comes to navigating all the potholes and the uneven surface on Middle Road. People must think I drive like a lunatic but I’m just trying to stay on even ground, honestly. (I would like to know how hard it is to smooth out a road …. I mean really, is it that difficult?!)
Anyway, while the weather is cool, I’m still into cooking warming dinners for chilly nights. I recently had to revisit my bolognaise recipe because it was less of a recipe and more of a spontaneous, flexible combination that sometimes worked out and sometimes didn’t. So this week, I edited and tested out a baked bolognaise and it was …. beautiful!
I love a rich bolognaise and the beauty of this one is that the flavours are deep and intense and the beef stays nicely soft. Also, you just throw it together and then put it in the oven and forget about it for an hour or so. It’s the perfect recipe for bulk cooking too. Cook enough for a crowd and then stock your freezer (or have a casual dinner party)!
To make the healthiest version of this possible choose grass-fed beef if you can and then serve it with whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta or a bean-based/protein-rich pasta.
Whichever pasta you cook, if you cool it, chill it for 20 minutes in the fridge and then reheat it. You’ll create resistant starch which works like fibre to slow sugar release. If that’s a pain don’t do it, but I always make extra and then the cooling/chilling part is done for subsequent meals. Lastly, try and eat a side salad or lots of green veggies first. By coating your stomach with all that fibre, you’ll better manage your appetite and find that you need less carbs.
Here's how I did mine!
Easy oven-baked bolognaise (serves 4 to 6 people)
1 tbsp light olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled, crushed, finely chopped
3 sticks celery, rinsed, finely chopped
2 packs ground beef (grass-fed if possible)
1 26oz carton San Marzano crushed tomatoes (or similar, but do choose crushed)
½ cup red wine (optional, can replace with beef stock or even water)
2 tsp dried oregano, herbes de Provence or Italian herbs
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 heaped tsp corn starch
Salt and pepper, to taste (suggest approximately ½ tsp salt)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. Heat the oil in a large pan (ovenproof) on the stove top, add the onion, garlic and celery. Stir and then cover. Allow to sweat and soften over a low heat for five minutes.
3. Add the beef and brown it.
4. Add the tomatoes, herbs, wine and maple syrup. Stir to combine. Cover and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
5. Once cooked, flavourful and soft, season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Place over a low heat on the stove top. In a small cup, mix together the corn starch with a little of the almond milk until it forms a thick liquid. Stir this into the bolognaise and continue to stir as the sauce thickens. Gently stir in the rest of the almond milk – sounds like an odd step, but this makes the sauce slightly creamy and it’s so good.
7. Check seasoning.
8. Serve with pasta/salad/vegetables as suggested above. Enjoy!
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram
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