Cooking For Expats: Bolognese Sauce

cooking for expatsWelcome to a new series here on C2C! As I am getting more settled in my new home, I am rekindling my love for cooking. I have to admit, it has been really hard trying to improvise, find substitutions and convert measurements and temperatures in attempts to make “American” recipes here in Germany. I have had some help in this regard from Connie at FoodEssen, a lovely site you should also check out. To make this even a bit more difficult, we are a single income family so I also try to make things as budget friendly as possible.

That all being said, I thought I would share some of my “creations”  here with you. I am in no way claiming culinary perfection or creativity here, but thought these ideas might help someone else in my shoes. I know I searched high and low for things like this when I got here, not knowing even the basic of things. And while yes, I have a German husband, he works long hours and this responsibility is mine to learn. My biggest problem in sharing these with you is that I often don’t measure ingredients, but cook by taste. I will do my best to nail down measurements in hopes that you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

So, for this week, we will start with the basic of the basic: Bolognese Sauce. I have Italian heritage and let me tell you, I have been working on perfecting my homemade sauce for years…..and then I moved here AND got put on a strict budget. Here is a German-shopping, budget-friendly recipe.

bolognese

INGREDIENTS

1 TBS EVOO (we use Sunflower oil, but olive oil is best)tomato, onion, mix

1 small yellow onion

300ml hot water

500g Tomaten Passiert (tomato puree)

400-500g ground beef (a pound is about 450g – we actually use “Hackfleisch gemischt” which is a mix of pork and beef so it’s a bit less fat)

2 packages of Knorr or Maggi Quick Fix Spaghetti Bolognese

Salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in medium-large pot over medium high heat.
  2. Finely dice onion and saute for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add meat and lightly season with salt and pepper. Brown meat and “chop” into small pieces. You can leave them larger if you like, but I like the meat ground pretty fine.
  4. While meat is cooking, measure out 300ml of hot water and whisk in both seasoning packets.  photo 2
  5. Once the meat is done, drain and rinse if you prefer. This particular meat doesn’t leave much to drain so I don’t, but I know many prefer to do so.
  6. If you have drained the meat, put back in the pot and add the water mixture keeping the heat on medium high.
  7. Then immediately add the tomato puree.
  8. Stir together well and bring back to a low boil.
  9. Turn down heat to low and let cook for a minimum of 20 minutes. I let mine cook for a minimum of one hour. I think cooking it that long really allows the flavors to come together with the meat being more tender and seasoned. But, this is optional.
  10. Taste after about 15 minutes to see if you like the flavor. Add more tomato puree/water to have thinner sauce. You can also add a can of diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes if you like them in your sauce.
  11. Depending on how long you cook your sauce, start your making your pasta about 20 minutes before your are ready to eat.

bolognese sauce

This sauce is thick and usually has enough leftovers for lunch the next day. I would also add some crushed red pepper if you like more spice to it, but I typically don’t since that would be too much for my son.

Hope you enjoy it! If you make it, come back and let me know what you think! Or, if you have ideas for additions or changes, let me know!

 
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32 thoughts on “Cooking For Expats: Bolognese Sauce

    1. C2C

      I’m glad! Yah, we have a tight budget for the 3 of us and believe it or not, my little boy eats a lot! And for this, even the no name or generic brand glass jars of sauce are expensive and if I make myself it gets pricey too because of all the fresh produce and herbs.

      Reply
    1. C2C

      You’re welcome! I know….my husband asked if I was writing it down because he was really liking some things have I made and wanted me to make them again. I said I didn’t because I don’t measure, so I decided to start trying to so I could share them. :-)

      Reply
  1. Anni S

    Spaghetti Bolognese is definitely my favorite comfort food since the day I was allowed to eat REAL food :oD
    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!!!!
    My brother makes it from scratch, without the Maggi or Knorr seasonings. But way too much work for me lol

    Reply
    1. C2C

      I know! I love it too! Making from scratch can be a lot of work, but mostly it just gets too expensive right now….at least the way I would make it with fresh produce and herbs. I’m hoping someday I won’t be on such a tight budget so I can have a bit more fun with my recipes, but we will see! This little boy of mine eats like a horse already!

      Reply
  2. thediaryofsugarandspice

    Good post!! I stopped using those Maggi and Knorr seasonings because they are so high in sodium and other unmentionable chemicals but they sure do save time! I make my sauce with some red wine (mostly so I can drink it while I’m cooking!)

    Guten Appetit!!

    Reply
    1. C2C

      Thanks! Haha! I do so stiles too, but I mostly just drink it! ;-) I know….they really are, but they are cheap. And for now, cheap is good….sadly. My husband used to use this other seasoning in a glass jar, but it had MSG in it! So I put the nix on that. :-)

      Reply
  3. welliesandwickets

    This is a great idea. I need the same thing here in the UK. I find it so hard to convert measurements and follow recipes here or find the correct ingredients. I spent 30 minutes trying to find baking soda in the store!

    Reply
    1. C2C

      Thank you! I know what you mean. It can be so overwhelming at first. It looks like I may be teaming up with another blogger who is from the UK, but since we are in Germany it won’t help you much. But I bet you could ask her questions? She’s a foodie so I bet she’ll know! Here’s her site http://www.thesojournseries.com/bavaria/

      Reply
  4. bevchen

    I’ve never used Maggi packet sauce mix – my bolognese sauce consists of plain old tinned tomatoes (from Aldi or the Rewe JA kind) and herbs/spices that I put in myself… Worcester sauce is essential :-D

    Did you see my post a while back on baking in Germany? I actually find that harder than cooking ordinary meals! Going to try Banoffee Pie tomorrow…. what was the German equivalent of condensed milk again?! lol.

    Reply
    1. C2C

      :-) As I mentioned, for now it’s cheap and easy although I hope to work towards making my own from scratch again. I think I did see that post and baking can be hard too although I’ve found most of what I’ve looked for so far. Isn’t the German condensed milk the same thing?

      Reply
      1. bevchen

        What we call condensed milk is sweetened condensed milk… not the same as “Kondensmilch”. Apparantly I need the one called “Milchmädchen” if I can find it. I’m hoping Scheck In can help me!

        Even when I was on Harz IV I didn’t resort to Maggi…. tins of tomatoes are cheap, and I just use dried herbs (italienische Kräuter usually) :-D

        Reply
        1. C2C

          Hmmm….I haven’t seen the milchmädchen but now I’m going to look just out of curiosity. My husband swears the other is the same. I’ve never tried it so I don’t know. When I needed it, I made my own.

          Well, the Tomaten Passiert is very cheap and I have the Italian herbs! but it just tastes too bland for me. Maybe I’ll try it again…..I think maybe if you sauté the herbs with some onion and garlic it helps the flavor come out more from being dried. I much prefer fresh because they are obviously so much more flavorful. Fresh basil….YUM!

          Reply
          1. bevchen

            Yes, fresh is better but more expensive. I always sauté onion and garlic (we loooove garlic!), add the herbs for a few minutes then add the mince and season with salt/pepper. Once the mince is all brown add the tinned tomatoes and heat through (the passiert stuff works too but I like the lumps of tomato from the tins). Add Worcester sauce and also extra herbs/salt/pepper if it tastes too bland. Works for me :-D

            Reply
  5. Amy Lynne Hayes

    I remember the challenges of learning to cook in each new country I moved to… it’s amazing which ingredients are different from place to place! Have never mastered the art of homemade pasta sauces though – will have to try this out! :)

    Reply
    1. C2C

      It is fun and overwhelming all at the same time! I love exploring the grocery stores, but I have days when I just miss going to Wal-Mart! :-) Well this isn’t quite home made. I think I’m going to update it next week after I do it without the packets. :-) well……if it’s good.

      Reply
  6. supertylor

    I tried to make Canadian-style butter tarts over the holidays this year, and wasn’t satisfied with the results at all. I can’t seem to find “proper” brown sugar over here!

    Reply
  7. Gypsy

    Yumm! Spaghetti bolognese is one of my favorites! We’re in Switzerland right now, so that’s exactly what I indulged in yesterday. Enjoying the land of pork …. Pork roast for dinner tonight!

    Reply
  8. Ace

    Cooking by taste is how I like it best – It’s how everyone’s awesome grandma cooks, just throwing a “handful” or a “pinch” in. Forget measuring! Ok, so sometimes it backfires, but I’d love to cook like an awesome grandma.
    That being said, I’m a big fan of a lot of Knorr packages. They seem to all be pretty tasty, even the “burritos” that don’t taste anything like burritos.

    Reply
    1. C2C

      Haha! I would love to cook like that too, and I’m working on it. That being said, sometimes, I have to use these packages. Burritos?? Haven’t seen that one?!

      Reply
      1. Ace

        We can get these red Knorr boxes with dinner fixings inside. The “burrito” tortilla is smaller than your hand and the sauce has dill or something else definitely not-Mexican flavored, lol. But, if you can find these boxes, they are worth trying, and there’s a pretty wide selection of flavors. I recommend the chicken tandori – it’s probably also not really what tandori tastes like, but it’s still pretty good!

        Reply
  9. LondonKiwiEmma

    I love this post – it’s a tough thing to move to another country & not be able to make your favourite recipes! I’ve been through a very similar process here in the UK, but we are very, very lucky.

    Reply
    1. Deanna Herrmann Post author

      Hi Emma! Sorry for the late response. I’ve been changing some things and lost some comments in the process. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you saw this past week’s post where I’m joining up with Emma – she is from the UK living in Germany and is doing her own Expat Essentials.

      Reply
  10. Tammy

    My son is planning to study in Germany next year. He will be there 1 year and will have an apartment. He loves to cook, so I will share your recipes with him. Keep them coming :) Thank you, Tammy

    Reply
    1. Deanna Herrmann Post author

      Hi Tammy! I’m so glad you think he will find this helpful. Please feel free to ask me any questions you guys may have. If I don’t know the answer, I am sure I can direct you the right way. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  11. Pingback: An Announcement: Fun To Come! | From Casinos To Castles

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