Jim’s spaghetti bolognese

Jim’s spaghetti bolognese

Nuovo Mondo
Alan Benson

Jim: I am born-and-bred Australian so I guess most Italians would argue that I don’t understand a good bolognese. I have cooked, eaten and experienced the beauty of this simple dish more times than I can count; though I wasn’t raised on it in my youth, I have made up for it in my later years. My version is not simple and fast. If you want to produce a beautiful – and quick – bolognese, Stefano’s is the best I have tasted, but give both a try and decide for yourself. Wagyu tail can be hard to get, in which case oxtail, osso bucco or a good brisket can be used in its place.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg whole roma tomatoes
300g Homemade pasta, cut into spaghetti
100g grated parmigianino reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
4 Parmesan crisps
1 basil shoots

Wagyu tail

Quantity Ingredient
1 wagyu tail, cut into sections along its joints
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250ml olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery, diced
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, whole
1 tbsp tomato paste
750ml dry red wine
2 litres Beef stock
2 rosemary
3 bay leaves


  1. To prepare the wagyu tail, preheat the oven to 160°C. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot or casserole and brown the meat in batches. Set the meat aside, pour off some of the oil and add the vegetables and garlic. Cook until lightly coloured. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 5 minutes on low heat. Add half the red wine, and simmer until the vegetables begin to fry again. Add the rest of the red wine and reduce again. Add the beef stock, rosemary and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Return the meat to the sauce and cook in the oven for about 6 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone. Remove the meat from the sauce and set aside to cool. Shred the meat and set aside until needed. Meanwhile, strain the sauce through a sieve and, using a ladle, push as much of the vegetables through the strainer as you can. Allow the sauce to cool for 10–15 minutes until the fat rises to the top. Skim and discard the fat. Stir about 200 ml of the sauce through the meat. Set the remaining sauce aside until needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the tomatoes on a tray and roast for 15–20 minutes until they are soft. Allow to cool then peel. Blend the tomatoes until smooth. Pass through a sieve, using a ladle to push through. Discard the pulp.
  3. Combine the tomato purée and remaining wagyo tail sauce (without the meat) in a large pot and reduce over high heat by about two-thirds. You should end up with an amazingly rich red sauce that holds its shape when spooned onto a plate. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  4. In a large saucepan, warm the wagyu tail meat over low heat. Cook the spaghetti for about 2 minutes in plenty of salted boiling water, drain, and add to the meat. Add the cheese and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
  5. To serve, twirl the pasta around a carving fork to form a cylinder of meaty pasta you can stand up. Place dots of the tomato reduction on the plate and top the pasta with a parmesan crisp. Garnish with some more olive oil, and a sprinkle of cheese and basil shoots.
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