End of Summer Bolognese

Over the years I’ve come across a wide range of Bolognese recipes, from the sublime to the rediculous.  In my student days the emphasis was on pushing nutricious volume from cheap ingredients.  A few years ago I developed a much more opulant recipe, with a higher proportion of top quality meat and a depth of richness from good red wine.  This season I’ve gone about as far away from that approach as you could imagine.

If you’re suffering from a glut of courgettes or tomatoes as the summer draws to a close, try this variation on a very traditional theme.  More of a ‘peasant’ dish, this bolognese uses a huge proportion of vegetables, cooked down over a relatively long period of time to develop a rich sauce.  This is very different to your standard spag bol sauce, but don’t be put off – it tastes fantastic and it uses up all of your large courgettes in the process!

You’ll notice another ingredient which may take you by surprise – an old Parmesan rind.  This is used a lot in Italian cookery – never be tempted to through these away!  They add a wonderful depth to soups, stews and casseroles.  They keep in the fridge for a long time – just through them in.  They’ll hold together in the pan, so don’t forget to fish them out before serving.

Serves 8, freezes well!


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 450g good quality finely Minced Beef
  • 3 medium Onions, chopped
  • 5 fat cloves of Garlic, crushed & chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh Oregano, Marjoram, & Thyme or 1 tsp dried Mixed Herbs
  • 1 kg Courgette, peeled & diced
  • 1 kg ripe Tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 Peppers, deseeded & chopped
  • 5 Chard stems, finely chopped (alternatively 5 sticks of celery)
  • 1 tbsp Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 good Quality Beef Stock cubes (use Knorr Stock Pot) or 4 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon powder
  • the rind from an old block of Parmesan


  • Heat the oil in a large pan and fry off the mince on a high heat
  • Turn down the temperature a little and add the onion and sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the garlic and herbs
  • Stir in the courgettes, tomatoes, chard and peppers and bring to the boil
  • Add the stock, sugar, vinegar and Parmesan rind.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook gently for 1-2 hours until the sauce has reduced.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking
  • Adjust seasoning (add lots more fresh black pepper) and serve with pasta and freshly grated Parmesan

Bolognese Meat Sauce on Foodista

One Comment Add yours

  1. Alisa says:

    I love a good bolognese sauce. I’d love to try your recipe. I saw your blog from the foodie blog roll and I like what you have here.if you won’t mind I’d love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget at the end of this post and it’s all set, Thanks!

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