The Italian Job

So Manav has decided to fill me up with some great Italian food – he’s being my traditional Italian Madre. We decide to meet for lunch and yes he's cooking a divine Spaghetti Bolognese.

So the thing about Manav is that he’s the sort of chef who entertains you while he cooks – which is interesting and frustrating at the same time! While you pick up the recipe and tips you also have to stand the heat in the kitchen. Well, like they say good things don’t come easy!


While weaving his magic, Manav started talking about the Goa restaurant days. This dish was the staple of one of his favourite regulars – the guy would order it almost every second time he visited the restaurant.


Eventually, he asked Manav for the recipe, which he had to really convince him to share. The funny thing was, this regular was as Chef! Yeah, annoying though he is, Manav is that good too. Though according to Manav, the bonding happened over the fact that they were both perverted, foul mouthed chefs – I really can’t imagine the world being ready to handle two of these!

Spaghetti BologneseSpaghetti

Since he's  no longer a virgin on sharing this one, I got it for you guys too:


 Spaghetti Bolognese  

(serves 6)

For caramelised onion:

1 onion, sliced

1 star anise

For the soffritto:

3 sticks celery, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 onions, diced

8 garlic cloves, minced

For the ragu:

300g pork loin steak, diced

200g beef braising steak, diced

½ bottle white wine

300ml whole milk

For the tomato compote:

2 tins tomatoes

30ml sherry vinegar

5 drops tabasco

5 drops fish sauce

For the pasta:

100g spaghetti per person

50g butter

  1. Heat some oil in a large casserole pan and fry the onion and star anise together for 20 mins until caramelised.


  1. Whilst the onion is caramelising, in another large casserole pan fry the soffritto veg in some olive oil for about 10 minutes until softened.



  1. Return to your onions. When they’re done put them to one side (discarding the star anise), add a little olive oil and use this pan to brown off the meats. Take your time with this and make sure there’s enough room for all the pieces of meat to brown, so do these in batches as necessary.


  1. Deglaze this pan with the white wine and turn the heat up. Scrape the bottom of the pan and keep this going until it’s reduced by half.



  1. When your soffritto is tender, add the caramelised onion, diced meat and reduced wine to it. Add the milk and top up with water until all the ingredients are submerged. Leave uncovered on the lowest heat for 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Add water if necessary to keep the liquids topped up. (The milk can make it appear a little granular, this won’t affect the final product.)


  1. For the compote, add all the ingredients to a little olive oil over a high heat. Cook rapidly until thick, then stir this into the rest of the Bolognese. Cook for a further hour. Turn the heat off and let it rest for 5 minutes while you cook the pasta. You should check the seasoning at the point – a little extra sherry vinegar can help cut the richness.


  1. For the spaghetti, cook according to packet instructions and drain. Rinse briefly to ensure it doesn’t stick then return to the pan to warm. Toss in the butter to coat well.


  1. Serve the spaghetti by twirling around a carving fork. Add a generous serving of bolognese and top with plenty of freshly grated parmesan.



A glass of Zinfandel and I’ve never felt more Italian in my life. Writing this series has made me realise that money is immaterial – if you can work for food- sublime food – it’s just the same.

spaghetti bolognese

Plated spaghetti Bolognese




Stay tuned so that I can eat my  Spaghetti Bolognese

(All errors are courtesy the chef).


Recipe Source

About the Author


If she hasn't laughed, it's a moment wasted. Constantly changing, she defies any attempt to describe her. Sarcastic, witty and a 'only water or alcohol' woman, she can find something humorous in everything.