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Pasta Bolognese – Variation in S Major :)

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Bologna

There are many variations of this predominantly red meat sauce Italian recipe. Some variations are complicated, some are simple; some are fast and others slow. We chose a simple, slow cooking variation (the “S” in “S Major”) that’s simply… memorable.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 60 minutes
You will need: a skillet and a pot


  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) of minced beef
  • 1 – 2 medium sized onions
  • 4 – 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 to 1/2 glass (cup) of olive oil (depends on how much fat is in the beef)
  • 1/2 cup of red wine or 1/4 cup of red vinegar
  • 3 – 4 medium sized tomatoes or 500g (approx. 17 oz) of canned, diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon zest
  • Several cups of hot water
  • A pinch of dry oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Approx. 200g of grated, hard cheese.
  • A pack of pasta. Spaghetti, macaroni or linguine work best.


  1. Dice the onions and the garlic, put them in the skillet.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of hot water.
  3. Simmer in medium fire until the liquid is not “watery” (=water is absorbed).
  4. Add the olive oil.
  5. Saute the onions and garlic in the oil; add the minced meet.
  6. Stir and wait until the meat changes colour. (At this stage the meat produces liquid, so, wait until the liquid is gone and the meat starts sizzling in the oil, again.)
  7. Add the wine or vinegar.
  8. Wait for a beat or two.
  9. Lower the fire and let it simmer for 30 minutes. You may want to keep adding water when/if required because you want the meat to be simmering, not frying.
  10. After 30 minutes of simmering, add the diced tomatoes, the lemon zest, the oregano and salt & pepper.
  11. Keep simmering the sauce for another 30 minutes; giving it a stir from time to time.
  12. Approx. 20 minutes before the (anticipated) end, start cooking the pasta.


Make a layer of meat sauce at the bottom of each serving plate. Add a layer of pasta on top of it and then a second layer of meat sauce on top of the pasta. Cheese, if any, goes in last and at the very top.

Notes on Pasta Bolognese – Variation in S Major 🙂

  • Regarding hard cheese: in general, people use whatever hard cheese is produced locally. E.g. the Italians use Parmesan (sweet), Pecorino (salty), etc. The Greeks use a dry, salty, hard white cheese called Myzithra. And so on and so forth. So, there’s no “right kind of hard cheese for the dish”, really. Do experiment a little, and choose your own combinations. (And please don’t forget to post your experiments here, eh? 🙂
  • If you feel like throwing a carrot into the mixture… go ahead! (We did!) 🙂
  • As you may freely imagine… there’s no “side dish” here – other than a salad of your choice. We would go for something “green” – given that there’s already a lot of tomato in the dish.
  • When purchasing minced beef, ask the clerk to grind the meat once, not twice.

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