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Category: Bolognese

Bangers Bolognese – Recipe Remedy

The original recipe for Bangers Bolognese comes from the Time Saving Tips Chapter of The A-Z of Food (1977).  I  wanted to make it purely for the name alone. The British habit of calling sausages bangers is adorable even if the origin  of the name is kind of unsavoury.  According to the ever reliable (ahem) Wikipedia, meat shortages during World War One lead to sausages being made with such a low meat content and such a high water content that they would sometimes explode when cooked.  They were literally bangers!   Best not to ask what actually went into them…..

The A-Z recipe for Bangers Bolognese was kind of gross though.  Chopped up sausages…oops, bangers in a sauce made out of tinned tomato soup. I have an aversion to tinned tomato soup stemming back from school days.  One time (not at band camp)  my school tuck shop ran out of ketchup and instead of buying more, used tinned tomato soup as the condiment for the day.  It was disgusting!  And put me off tinned tomato soup for life!

Bangers Bolognese2

So, I thought, what would happen if I took the idea of Bangers Bolognese but omitted the awful tomato soup component for something a bit more amenable to the modern palate? The result is a recipe remedy which is absolutely delicious!

Bangers Bolognese1I used chorizo for my bangers but feel free to use your favorite sausage.  Without wanting to sound too snooty about it, this is really a recipe where using the highest quality of sausage you can afford will result in a better tasting dish. 

Here’s the original for anyone that cares to eat sausages cooked in tomato soup:

Bangers Bolognese OriginalBefore we get to my tweaked version of Bangers Bolognese, lets take a trip in the way back machine to 1968 when Margaret Fulton had to show the unworldly Australian public how to twirl spaghetti like an urbane Italian.  Beware though, the next set of photos contain both werewolfy hairy arms and super pointy 1960’s nails. 

You have been warned.

Okay, so now you know how to twirl pasta like a pro lets update this beast.  No tomato soup in sight!

Bangers Bolognese
A delicious and time saving take on a traditional spaghetti bolognese, using sausages
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  1. 4 high quality sausages of your choice, the spicier the better
  2. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  5. 1 sprigs of thyme
  6. 1 sprig of rosemary
  7. 1/2 cup red wine
  8. 400g can tomatoes
  9. 1 tbsp brown sugar
  10. 400g spaghetti
  11. Cheese - parmesan is traditional however for extra creaminess, Donna Hay suggests using Buffalo Mozzarella
  12. Parsley and additional chilli flakes to garnish.
  1. Remove the casings from the sausages.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the sausages, chilli, onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions and garlic are softened.
  3. Add the wine, tomatoes, sugar and herbs.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook for 1/2 and hour or longer until the sauce is reduced.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.
  7. Drain well.
  8. Toss the pasta with the bolognese mixture, top with cheese, parsley and chilli flakes.
Adapted from The A-Z of Food & Donna Hay
Retro Food For Modern Times
Bangers Bolognese 7Have a wonderful week . I’ll be back next time with another recipe remedy from The A-Z of Cooking.

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Singers and Swingers – Roberta Ashley (1967): Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Spaghetti Bolognese

What do my latest kitchen rule and the American military have in common?

Hint – the answer is in the title.

Prompted by my latest foray into Roberta Ashley’s  Singers and Swingers, the events of this week have led me to adopt a strict “need to know policy” in terms of the produce issuing from said kitchen.

The recipe in question was Noel Harrison’s Spaghetti Bolognese, inspired by a recipe by none other than Elizabeth David

It obviously wasn’t all franks and beans for the celebrities of 1967, some of them were slightly more highbrow.

Noel Harrison 001

I dithered over making this recipe for about a week before deciding to go for it.  The reason?

I don’t care if the recipe is inspired by the Grand Dame of British Cookery, a Spaghetti Bolognese without garlic is not any Spaghetti Bolognese I care to make!

That’s not true, well it’s partially true but the real reason for the prevarication was the presence of chicken livers in the recipe.

Ingredients - Noel Harrison's Spaghetti Bolognese
Ingredients – Noel Harrison’s Spaghetti Bolognese with a sneaky garlic clove thrown in!

I have never cooked liver before, in fact I have never, outside of a paté even eaten liver before.  I am actually a bit frightened by the thought of offal. Still, one of my reasons for wanting to do this was to expand my horizons as a cook, so whilst it took a bit of internal debate there really was only one decision that made sense.

The texture of the raw liver was…ooky.  It was softer than I thought it would be, almost a little spongy and a little….stringy. It was kind of gross.  I would certainly not discount using chicken liver in a recipe again but I’m not scouring recipe books either!

Chicken Liver
Chicken Liver

Still, I persevered, (yay, me!) and the end result was a super Spaghetti Bolognese, even if I do say so myself.  It was rich and flavoursome.  There was an undercurrent of liver but the flavour certainly wasn’t overpowering.  Bravo Noel Harrison and Elizabeth David!

Simmering Bolognese Sauce
Simmering Bolognese Sauce

I made the Bolognese sauce in the afternoon as I wanted it to simmer for a few hours.  I had a gym class that evening, so just before I left I  put the spaghetti on to boil and left Mark to fend for himself.   When I got home, he had eaten his.

“Did you like it?”

“I was the best spaghetti Bolognese I have ever had…it was delicious” Proof is in the eating.  he wiped his plate clean.

Mark's Plate...
Mark’s Plate…

Wow!  That’s some praise from a notoriously picky eater!

So, I then sat down to eat mine and, he was right, it was pretty damn good!

I’m putting my next comments down to delirium caused by too much exercise.  Too much jumping around is not good for my brain!  Because the next words out of my mouth were “Yeah, I was really worried about putting the chicken livers in there but they work”.

That was it.  I continued eating, he continued watching tv.

End of discussion.

Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese

Or possibly not.

The next night, we were having left over Bolognese with garlic bread, also from the book.  Or I thought we were. I ‘d started to reheat  the Bolognese sauce when I heard a small voice behind me.

“I don’t think I can eat it”.


“You shouldn’t have told me about the chicken livers”

“But you eat liver, you eat calves livers when we go out and they’re huge…the chicken livers were tiny”

“I know”

“You had chicken liver paté on toast for breakfast”

“I know”

“You said it was the BEST Spaghetti Bolognese you’ve ever eaten”

“That was before I knew about the chicken livers…I’ll have the garlic bread though, that looks great”

Bolognese and Garlic Bread
Bolognese and Garlic Bread

This example of man logic  floored me.  On a scale of one to ten where one is cold hard calculated rationality and ten is utter gibberish, surely this rates a 9.5?

So, from now on….any, and all, feats of kitchen wizardry are going to be hidden behind a veil, cloaked in a cone of silence and locked in a vault. From now on, nothing coming from my kitchen is being divulged to anyone.  Ever.

Except for you dear readers…just don’t tell anyone!

hear no evil

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