Oven Slaving with Mrs Woog – Spag Bol.


I am not sure why I continue to torture myself. Every day I ask the lads “What do you want for dinner?” and they reply, without fail.

“Spaghetti Bolognese.”

In January, my New Years resolution was to not make Spaghetti Bolognese for the entire year. Because I was just so over it. But you wanna know something?

Nagging works.

I maybe make it once a fortnight, when I am weak and the nagging gets to much for me to fight it anymore.

This dish originated in Bologna, in Northern Italy, and has been bastardised all over the world ever since. It seems that a lot of people have time-honoured secrets when it comes to making spag bol. I have even heard that a fun sized mars bar chucked in the sauce makes all the difference….

Me? I am a traditionalist but if I had to share one tip it would be to cook that sauce on low for hours. My other tip would be to make sure you are wearing a white top when you are cooking it, so you can spill it all over you and swear loudly, before stripping off and hitting that stain up with some spray, preparing a bucket of warm water and soaking it.

I would live a happy life if I never had to cook or eat Spaghetti Bolognese again. When the boys were babies and were presented with a bowl of bol, I knew, just knew, that I would be cleaning that dinner up for weeks. Flung around. Dumped on heads. Oh the fun that was had with the long strands of pasta!

So, I reluctantly give you my recipe.

  • Good glug of olive oil in pan. Add a diced onion and 3 garlic cloves. Crushed. Like my soul.
  • When browned, add the mince. Traditionally it should be half pork, half lamb. But I scoff in the face of tradition and use beef.
  • A tip! Work that mince with your wooden spoon. Get those tuck shop arms moving. A chef once told me that you basically need to stir fry the mince otherwise it will just stew and remain lumpy.
  • Once it is brown, add the following. A cup of red wine. 2 tins of chopped tomato. One tin of water. A jar of passata. One beef stock cube. Tears from a bored mum who is shitty because she is making bloody spag bol again. A spoonful of sugar. Salt and Pepper. Hope for a brighter future.
  • Stir. Bring the lot up to boil for a few minutes. Get splattered on your top.
  • Turn it down to low for 2 hours. Drink some wine. Ponder ones existance. Stir when you go back to the fridge for a top up.
  • Serve over pasta. Refuse to set foot into the kitchen again.

What is your secret to a good spag bol?

Tell, me true. What is the most nagged for dinner at your joint?

For more from my Oven Slaving Series, please click here.