A pimped up version of the Italian classic, this divine rendition  has the unmistakable earthy flavour of dried porcini and the more subtle undertones of sage and bay.  Cooked nice and slow and even left for a few hours just to sit and infuse has put this on the list of family favourites…….

Prep time:   25  Minutes               Cooking time:   1 1/2 Hours         $  Low Budget

Serves 6-8

2-3 tbs of olive oil

11/2 packets of dried spaghetti

1kg of pork and veal mince

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 large brown onion, roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 bunch of sage, leaves removed (some reserved for garnish)

3 bay leaves

20gm of dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup of good quality red wine

2 tins of diced tomatoes

1 cup of tomato paste

2 tbs of aged balsamic vinegar (it is sweeter, if you only have the normal one add a tsp of sugar as well)

Sea salt and pepper

Finely grated parmesan to serve

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Place the porcini in a jug and add enough boiling water to cover them.  Allow to infuse and soften for 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside 1 cup of the porcini water (liquid gold!) and finely dice the porcini.

Place the onion, garlic, sage, carrot and celery in your food processor and pulse until you have a lovely fine mixture.  Heat a large, heavy based pan and add half the olive oil.  Fry the mince until well browned, breaking it up with a spoon.  Spoon into a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan add the rest of the olive oil and lightly fry the vegetable mixture and bay leaves for 5-8 minutes or until softened.  It will soak up the olive oil straight away but there should be enough moisture in the mix to stop it burning.  Just do it low and slow or add a little more oil.

Place the porcini and the pork back in the pan and stir to combine.  Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and then the wine. Allow to reduce by half then add the porcini water, tomatoes and tomato paste, mixing well until it comes back to the boil.  Season with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to very low, cover with a tight fitting lid and allow to bubble away gently for 1-11/2 hours, stirring very 15 minutes or so.

Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.  Remove the lid from the bolognese and simmer for a further 20 minutes to allow some of the liquid to reduce.  Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Heat a small pan and add a tbs of olive oil.  When hot pop in the sage leaves and gently fry until crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towel, reserving the oil.

Drain the spaghetti and add it to the bolognese sauce.  Toss really well to combine (you may need a really large pan to do this or you can do it in batches in a separate bowl) and divide among serving bowls.  Grate over some fresh parmesan, top with crispy sage leaves and drizzle with the remaining sage infused olive oil.