When you tie yourself to writing cookbooks that feature recipes that you cook for your family, it means that you are catering for the toughest critics of them all: your kids. Amazingly, they loved this lighter version of Bolognese; one even called it ‘super-delicious’, which is about the highest praise you can get in my house. Well, other than ‘it’s almost as good as Nanna’s’. Yes, it’s fiddly browning off the ingredients in three batches but it is well worth it for the taste.
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
- 90g (3 rashers) bacon, finely sliced into batons
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 500 g chicken mince
- 100g (⅓ cup) tomato paste
- 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 250ml (1 cup) white wine
- 2 punnets cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 500g fusilli pasta
- parmesan cheese
- In a large heavy-based pot over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the bacon until brown. Remove from the pot and drain off any excess fat.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaf and thyme sprigs to the same pot and cook until caramelised, about 15–20 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables from the pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and brown the chicken mince, don’t overcook. When the chicken mince is browned, put the vegetables and bacon back in the pot along with the tomato paste, stock, wine, cherry tomatoes and half the parsley. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced, about 25–30 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
- Meanwhile, cook the corkscrew pasta as per instructions in lots of salted boiling water.
- When ready to serve, stir the pasta and the remaining parsley through the sauce. Serve with the parmesan, for grating, on the side.
Recipe and image from Fast, Fresh and Unbelievably Delicious by Matt Preston, published by Plum, RRP $39.99.