Life’s a Feast: Kids can cook, the sequel

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As a follow-on from the two recipes I shared last year, aimed at encouraging children to learn to cook, here is an additional simple recipe. Every young person venturing into the big wide world for the first time (and leaving the comfort of mum’s and dad’s cooking) will need to be able to feed themselves – and on small budget! This sauce is relatively healthy and provides the base for an infinite number of meals they can create. Harbouring a love of good food from a young age will help create great eating habits and associations later in life. Enjoy!

PREP TIME: 6 MINS
COOK TIME: 40 MINS
SERVES: 5 PEOPLE

Basic bolognaise ingredients

2 cloves of garlic
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, thinly-sliced (optional)
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
3 rashers streaky bacon (optional)
Olive oil
500g lean minced beef
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon beef stock
1/2 cup water
500g pack of spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

1. Peel and finely slice garlic. Cut onion in half from top to bottom and peel off outer layer. Cut 6-7 slices into each half from the root part, at the top, through to the bottom – leaving the root intact so it doesn’t fall apart.
2. Turn the onions around and slice the onion in the opposite direction. The smaller the pieces the better.
3. Pull leaves off rosemary stalk and thinly chop them. Carefully chop bacon into small pieces using a sharp knife.
4. Heat a splash of oil (about 1 tablespoon) in a large pot to a medium heat (between the highest and the lowest temperature), add bacon, rosemary, garlic and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Make sure it doesn’t brown.
5. Add carrot and celery and cook for further 3-4 mins, stirring occasionally.
6. Add half the beef mince, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon constantly until it has turned brown and separated. Add the other half. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned all over and there are no clumps.
7. Add tinned tomatoes, oregano, tomato puree, stock and water. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
8. Bring to the boil by turning up heat to medium-high. Once boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer (temperature on low) and cover with a lid. Cook for about 40 mins, stirring from time to time, until you have a rich, thick sauce.
9. When the bolognaise is nearly finished, cook the spaghetti following packet instructions. Only put your pasta in once the water is rapidly boiling and add quite a lot of salt to the water (at least 1 tablespoon). The larger the pot the easier it is to cook the spaghetti.
10. Drain spaghetti and pour over some olive oil. Divide evenly between two bowls and pour on a generous amount of bolognaise. Serve with grated parmesan, crusty bread and salad, if you like.