20 August 2011

Pork & Fennel Bolognese

dairy free egg free nut free gluten free

Pork is the meat of choice in our house when making bolognese. And while there are as many variations of bolognese as there are types of pasta, this version is my hands-down favourite. Fennel replaces the soffritto (carrot, onion, celery) lending a satisfying sweetness, and the hint of bay gives it depth. My mother's sugo is legendary for its simplicity and restraint and I can happily report that when I serve this one up, my daughter asks "Is this Nonna's?" even though fennel doesn't feature in her version. 

(Apparently, 6 out of 10 Australian chefs prefer pork in their bolognese according to 2009 edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller. If you're still making bolognese with beef, it may be time for a change.)

I would think that the only way to improve on this excellent sauce, would be to add some white wine just after adding the meat. We tend not to use much wine in cooking these days as most are processed with egg and milk products. But next time I come across an organic/vegan wine, I might just try it...

500g pork mince
1 large fennel bulb, chopped into 1cm pieces
1 large red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 bottle tomato passata/puree
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat a large saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, gently fry onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add chopped fennel and fry on low-medium heat for about 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Turn heat to medium-high and add pork mince, breaking it up with your spoon and fry until cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped tomatoes, passata and bay leaf and bring to the boil, then reduce to low heat, simmering for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.

Stir through cooked pasta and serve.

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