Cheesy Spinach Topped Spaghetti Bolognese (Casserole) with optional Bacon and Mushrooms – Top Restaurant Quality! GMO Free!
Topped with a delicious Mozzarella Creamed Spinach – The BEST you can get! And it hits just the right note! Soo delish, You will want to make another – So make plenty! It cannot get better than this! You won’t be sorry! Leftovers are even better the following day! Totally Delish! 😉
You may include an optional 90 g or 4 slices fried bacon bits (I never added) and 125 g sliced mushrooms. If doing so, first prepare your bacon and mushrooms. Fry your bacon first, remove and then saute the mushrooms. Remove and set aside. And only once that is done, may you then prepare your spinach. Once your spinach is ready, spread it over the top of your Bolognese pasta, followed by distributing your cooked bacon and mushrooms over the top. Over which you then grate your cheddar cheese.
You may also add a bit of fresh parsley to counter act garlic breath!
You may replace spaghetti with any other pasta or lasagna sheets of same weight. Pasta MUST always be added to HOT to HOT sauce so that the sauce can separate the strands, grab onto it and coat it without sliding off, which is why you must never rinse your pasta. The starch of your pasta (not being rinsed off) helps your HOT sauce adhere to the strands and both pasta and sauce MUST be HOT to do this. Never rinse off the outer starch layer, unless you are making a pasta salad.
BOLOGNESE MEAT SAUCE:
4 tbsp olive oil or chicken schmaltz
4 tbsp butter
2 large onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves
4 stalks celery, sliced (leaves included)
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 kg (36 oz ) lean beef mince
2 x 400 g can peeled tomatoes, sliced & juice reserved – I use my own fresh tomatoes
240 ml (8 fl oz) white or red wine
500 ml (8 fl oz) water – Use sparingly – for own consistency. Tomatoes have lots of water!
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper or cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
500 g (18 oz) spaghetti
PREPARE BOLOGNESE MEAT SAUCE:
1. Heat olive oil and butter, add onion and fry until soft, then add celery and carrot. Stir-fry for a few minutes.
2. Turn up heat, add mince, and brown, stirring to break up the mince lumps. A potato masher does an excellent job.
3. Add tomatoes with juice, wine, water, tomato paste, sugar, bay leaf, salt pepper and oregano.
4. Cover and simmer very gently for 1 hour. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.
5. Just before serving, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp salt to water, then add spaghetti, and boil for 12 minutes. Drain, and toss HOT spaghetti into HOT meat sauce, separating the strands with a fork.
Bring a large micro-safe pot of salted water to boil. Break up spaghetti if prefer in small pieces as I always do. As soon as water reaches a rolling boil, quickly drop in spaghetti, stir, close or seal pot lid and microwave in 1000 watt microwave for 7 minutes. Remove, drain and quickly stir through your HOT pasta into your HOT meat sauce, separating the strands whilst stirring through with a fork.
PREPARE THE SPINACH:
4 garlic cloves, crushed
15 ml chicken schmaltz OR half butter to oil to cook spinach – I used 46 g schmaltz incl bit stock
1 onion (small), finely chopped + extra 42 g schmaltz
2 bunches of spinach, stems and thick veins removed – Chop with knife or kitchen scissors
168 ml / grams cream 240 g mozzarella cheese, grated (250 ml cup heaped = 114 g) – I used 244 g packaged weight
Nutmeg to taste – I like freshly grated, grated on 2nd finest side of box grater
60 g cheddar, grate over creamed spinach topping
Add fresh cloves garlic to bottom of saucepan or wok and crush with a light sprinkling salt. Remove and set aside. – I use the flat wooden back end (handle) of a braai / barbecue hook 😉
Add fat to saucepan and when sizzling toss in your onions and saute until translucent.
Add your chopped spinach to your onions and stir-fry on low to medium heat until just wilted – NO more! – Remove Spinach and onions. Set aside.
Add your crushed or minced garlic back to your saucepan, together with cream. Bring to boil.
Add grated mozzarella cheese stirring constantly on high until mozzarella melts – about 30 seconds – NO MORE! Reduce heat and simmer stirring until you have a smooth creamed spinach – a further 30 seconds to a minute – NO MORE! Season with salt to taste and some optional nutmeg if you wish. Remove from heat.
Spread Creamed Spinach over the top of your Bolognese pasta.
Distribute your reserved cooked bacon and mushrooms over your spinach – if you will be adding it. – Usually I don’t add it as the dish still remains very delish without it 😉
Grate over your cheddar cheese. Place under grill or bake at 160 C (320 F) or until topping is golden brown.