I am pretty much in awe of those people who carefully craft a weekly meal plan and can get by on a weekly trip to the supermarket.
I am not one of those people.
I do an online fortnightly grocery shop but it seems to consist almost exclusively of loo paper and washing powder – the consumption of both seems to have increased exponentially since my boyfriend moved in. This shop, however, never seems to contain the ingredients for one complete meal, let alone a week’s worth and is supplemented by daily trips to one of the supermarkets on the way home from work.
Sometimes it’s supplemented by two trips to the supermarket if I remember in between supermarkets that I’ve forgotten something.
For me, this isn’t so much of a problem as I would quite happily eat pasta every night. Or at least every night that I wasn’t eating pizza. My obsession with collecting random pasta shapes also means that it’s one of the few ingredients that I’m not likely to ever run out of.
Sadly my boyfriend is one of those people who hates eating the same, or even similar, meals for consecutive nights. He’s the type of person who will say that we can’t have a risotto that night because we had egg fried rice the night before. Even though they are completely different rice dishes and actually the idea of a risotto that tastes like egg fried rice makes me feel slightly nauseous.
I have to try and sneak in my pasta fixes when I can therefore. I was working from home the other Friday and came across a couple of packets of buffalo mince that I’d bought on a whim. I decided to turn them into a bolognese-style ragu with some slightly past their best cherry tomatoes and a dash of red wine. I enjoyed a giant plate of pasta and ragu for lunch and then turned the rest of it into a lasagne that we enjoyed the next day. Two pasta hits in two days? I know how to work the system.
You obviously don’t have to use buffalo mince for this ragu – I use pretty much the same method with other ground meat. Buffalo meat does have the advantage of being lower in fat than regular beef and just as tasty. Another note, I like my ragu with plenty of tomato (which has the added advantage of bulking the sauce out a a bit healthily and cheaply) but if you’re not such a fan, feel free to use only one can of chopped tomatoes. And you can leave out the cherry tomatoes too. I won’t judge you (much).
Yield: Serves 6
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 600gground buffalo meat
- 1 largeonion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 cloveof garlic, crushed
- 250ml (1 cup) red wine
- 200gcherry tomatoes
- 2 x 400gcans of chopped tomatoes
- 2bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons oftomato puree
- Salt and pepperto taste
- A pinch ofsugar
- In a large pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the meat and fry until brown. Remove the meat from the pan and put it aside to drain (I usually put it on a couple of sheets of kitchen roll on a plate).
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, heat and add the onion, carrot and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onion is transluscent.
- Add the meat back to the pan, pour in the glass of wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and bay leaves, reduce the heat and simmer for at least an hour until the sauce looks rich and hearty. Have a quick taste to see if you need any salt, pepper and sugar.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve over pasta or use to make a lasagne. The sauce will also freeze well.