2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
750g lean beef
125ml (½ cup) red wine (see note)
2 tbsp tomato paste
700g tomato passata (see note)
1½ tsp Italian seasoning (see note)
1 bay leaf
1¼ tsp cooking salt
¾ tsp black pepper
300g paccheri pasta (or use rigatoni)
150g (1½ cups firmly packed) finely grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
100g (1 cup firmly packed) grated mozzarella
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, optional
1. To make the bolognese sauce, heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until onion is translucent. Turn the heat up to high. Add beef and cook, breaking it up as you go, until you can no longer see raw beef (about 5 minutes). Add wine and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping the base of the pan, until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add remaining sauce ingredients, stir, and bring to a simmer, then lower heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes (no lid), stirring occasionally. It should be fairly saucy. (The pasta will absorb the extra liquid in the oven). Allow to cool.
2. Cook pasta according to packet directions minus 4 minutes so they hold their shape once baked. Drain, briefly rinse under tap water, then shake off extra water. Return the pasta to the now-empty pasta cooking pot and toss with 50g (½ cup) grated parmesan while the pasta is still hot. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).
4. To assemble, remove the bay leaf from the sauce and spread 1 cup of sauce on the base of a 20cm springform tin. Arrange the pasta upright on the sauce, leaning them against each other and packing them in so they remain in place. Transfer remaining bolognese into a piping bag or a large press-seal bag. Snip off the tip of the bag so it fits into the pasta tube opening and pipe sauce into each tube. Once all pasta is filled, spread any remaining sauce across the top. Toss the remaining parmesan with the mozzarella and sprinkle over the top.
5. Cover with foil then bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before removing the springform pan. Cut into generous wedges – like cake! Serve, sprinkled with extra parmesan and parsley if desired.
Paccheri pasta is a wider type of rigatoni that is ideal for stuffing. If you can’t find it, use regular rigatoni but don’t try to pipe the sauce in – it’s not wide enough. Stand the rigatoni upright then for some of the bolognese sauce over and spread, pushing the sauce into and between the rigatoni. Repeat until all the bolognese is used.
Wine – any red wine that’s not too oaky or sweet will work just fine here. For a non-alcoholic version, use low-sodium beef or chicken stock.
Italian seasoning – I use a store-bought mix. Substitute with any mix of dried parsley, basil, oregano or thyme.
Passata can be substituted with crushed tomato.
More thin beef recipes from RecipeTin Eats