Holy smokes. We’ve kicked this pasta up a notch, with serious barbecue flavour for a bold dinner that even sneaks a secret vegetable or two. Smoky Beef and Bacon Bolognese is the best thing since Spag Bol, with enough smoky beef and bacon to satisfy the hungriest of meat lovers.
As I sit here writing, another weekend has come and gone and I can’t believe we’re now in our third week of being-back-home-shenanigans already. Gosh time flies when you’re having fun!
This weekend was just the relaxing break we needed after a full-on year. A chance to catch up on family happenings and spend some time in the great outdoors.
Our retreat was a cute little renovated 60’s shack on Hindmarsh Island, South Australia. It was such a stunning spot, bright green grass, away from city noise, and only a few steps to the banks of the Murray River.
Topping the activities list:
- Go fishing off a rickety wooden jetty
- Relax in the shade with a good book, and
- Play endless games of Balderdash til we drop.
(We even cranked up our 3DS’s for a few rounds of Mario Kart – haven’t done that in years!) :O
Weirdly we didn’t do any of the cooking this weekend. It feels like we haven’t touched a spatula in so too long and I don’t know about Sarah but I’m starting to get twitchy.
There was a trip to a local pub for dinner the first night, chicken schnitzels all round because REASONS. And then there were the sausages and steak and fried potatoes and CORN on the barbecue the second night and OH-MY-GOD if you haven’t tried barbecued corn yet you need to get on this.
It’s ridiculously simple. Find corn cob -> put on BBQ -> slather with butter (if that’s your thing, it is totally our thing) – > bask in the ambiance.
Oh sorry, was that a bit too corn-y? 😛
Corny or not, for the best flavour make sure to grab corn cobs with the husk on and remove it yourself before cooking. Trust us it’ll taste way better than the pre-husked plastic-wrapped variety.
Smoky Beef and Bacon Bolognese
Our last escapade in the kitchen was Sarah’s Smoky Beef and Bacon Bolognese Experiment.
While I was coughin’ and splutterin’ and oglin’ Crispy Korean Pancakes from the couch, Sarah was flitting around the kitchen chopping this, frying that, adding tablespoons of this sauce and drops of that Liquid Smoke.
We use Tone’s Liquid Smoke with Hickory Barbecue Flavour that we got from the Adelaide Central Market, but you can just as easily buy it online. It is so damn perfect for those times your need big, bold, smoky American-style flavours in your life, but you don’t want the hassle of having to smoke it yourself.
Offsetting the smoky beefy bacon-y deliciousness Sarah added grated zucchini and carrot which blended amazingly into the sauce that I had no idea they were even there.
It even fooled her brother, who’s usually got a keen eye for sneaky unwanted vegetables. Success!
Sick or no, I can tell you I wolfed down that Smoky Beef and Bacon Bolognese in record time along with the rest of the hungry family. Mr I-Don’t-Eat-Vegetables even said it should be called Texas BBQ Bolognese. What do you think?
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- 750 g beef mince
- 4 slices bacon diced
- 500 g pasta fettuccine or spaghetti
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 60 ml red wine
- 800 g diced tomatoes
- 1 carrot grated
- 1 zucchini grated
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 tbsp tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
- 20 drops liquid smoke
- 2 tsp smoky paprika or more, to taste
- Salt & pepper to taste
- oil for cooking
- Set a large saucepan of water over a high heat and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to packet directions.
- Meanwhile heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and stir fry until onions are translucent.
- Add the minced beef and diced bacon and continue fry until browned.
- Pour in red wine and cook until liquid evaporates. Reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add the grated carrot and zucchini, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and BBQ sauce. Stir through until well combined.
- Gradually add the liquid smoke, smoky paprika, salt and pepper until you’re happy with the flavour. Continue to simmer on low.
- Place pasta into serving dishes and top with the smoky beef and bacon Bolognese sauce.
- We cooked a big batch of this Bolognese because we were feeding 6 hungry people. If you’re cooking for a smaller number, we recommend freezing the rest for future lunch or dinners.
- Add Herbs - Add your favourite fresh herbs for an extra depth of flavour. Basil, oregano or rosemary would work really well, but they’re not essential.