Not-too-late Summer Bolognese


`Summer Bolognese` – what a beauty!!


It took me so long to write this one. Damn, it’s autumn already. I don’t even have any specific reason for the delay, I just had a lot of things to do..

I cooked this dish in August, when the tomato season had already started long ago in Germany. However, I just picked the last tomatoes from our little garden und noticed: It’s not too late yet!!
Let’s just call it `Not-too-late summer Bolognese`.
I might even like this one better than a real Bolognese sauce – it has all my favorite things in it, like salted capers, anchovies and dry cured black olives.

Some words about black olives: you should definitely try to get your hands on dry cured black olives with pit (without brine). I personally don`t like to have any olives with pit on my plate so I remove them before cooking. The easiest way to do so is to lightly crush the olives, the pit will loosen and it will be easy to remove the pits. So spread your olives on a flat surface and press and roll them with the bottom of a pan until lightly crushed.
Please use dry cured olives for this!! I first had these a few years ago on a trip to the Greek island Crete. You usually get dry cured olives, bread and olive oil as a starter over there and the wrinkled olives are so tiny you wouldn`t even recognize these as olives in the first place. These little gems didn`t taste like anything I ever had before and completely changed my view on olives! In Germany I can buy these at Italian or Turkish grocery stores, look out for olives without any liquid in the jar.

You will notice the unusual way I fried the meat for the Bolognese, it’s not complicated at all and will prevent the meat from leaking out too much liquid. I got the method from the outstanding Italian cookbook: Made in Italy.

  1. Bring the meat to room temperature before frying!
  2. Bring your pan to very high heat before adding the meat!!
  3. Season the meat with pepper and salt before adding to the pan.
  4. Evenly spread the meat in the pan so that the whole base of the pan is covered.
  5. Let the meat fry for about 5-6 min. without stirring to seal the meat from below and completely heat the whole meat before turning. Otherwise proteins and liquid will seep out and you`ll end up cooking the meat rather than frying it.
  6. Now you can stir through and fry for another 10-12 min, until browned and the meat starts sticking on the base of the pan. That is the sign that the meat is ready to absorb the wine.

Use this method anytime you fry minced meat!

Not-too-late Summer Bolognese

Serving Size: 6


    Oven dried tomatoes
  1. 250 g plum tomatoes, halved
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. sea salt
  4. black pepper
  5. Bolognese
  6. 600 g tomatoes, mixed sizes and colors
  7. 600 g minced beef, at room temperature when you start
  8. 500 g Spaghetti pasta (the sauce can easily take 1 kg pasta!)
  9. 150 ml dry white wine
  10. 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
  11. 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  12. Grated zest from 1 organic lemon
  13. 1 handful of salted capers, rinsed and drained
  14. 1 big handful of black olives (preferably dry cured), remove the pits
  15. 1 bunch of basil, leaves picked
  16. 1 bunch of thyme, leaves picked
  17. 1 tbsp sugar
  18. 1 tbsp tomato paste
  19. 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  20. 1 tsp chili flakes
  21. Olive oil
  22. Parmesan cheese


Oven dried tomatoes

Start with the dried tomatoes.

Preheat your oven to 150°C/302°F. Line a tray with baking parchment and spread the tomatoes on top, round side down. Drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of sea salt. Dry in the oven for about 40 min. depending on the size of the tomatoes.

Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Bolognese sauce

Halve the smaller tomatoes and cut the bigger ones to wedges. Heat a big frying pan, pour in some olive oil and carefully fry one half of the tomatoes for a few minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.

(Meanwhile bring a big pot with salted water to a boil and cook the pasta.)

Wipe the pan clean and bring it back to very high temperature. Add 1tbsp olive oil and fry the meat without turning or stirring at all for 5-6 minutes together with garlic, 1 tsp of salt, a few dashes of black pepper and 1 tsp of chili flakes. After 5 minutes you can stir through the meat and fry for 10-12 min. or until everything is browned and the meat starts sticking on the base of the pan. Mix in the thyme leaves and tomato paste and fry for 2 min. Pour in the white whine followed by anchovies, lemon zest and 1 tbsp sugar. Cook until nearly evaporated. Turn down the heat to a medium level and add the capers, olives, all the tomatoes and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Fry for about 2 more minutes.

Loosen your sauce with some of the cooking water from the pasta, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and back pepper to taste. Finally remove the pan from the heat and carefully stir in the basil leaves. Mix with your cooked pasta and loosen again with cooking water to get the right consistency.

Serve with grated Parmesan.

Guten Appetit!








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