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Bolognese bake



Bolognese bake

This bolognese pasta bake can be assembled ahead, ready to pop in the oven. My method of frying the mushrooms ensures they stay firm and flavourful, not soft and soggy.

You will need a large, shallow ovenproof dish, about 1.7 litres/3 pints capacity.



  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 675g/1lb 8oz beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 350–500ml/12–18fl oz beef stock
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 250g/9oz chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 225g/8oz penne pasta
  • 50g/1¾oz cheddar, grated
  • 30g/1oz Parmesan, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • green or tomato salad, to serve



  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wide, flameproof casserole. Add the onions and celery and fry over a high heat for about 3 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the mince and fry until browned, breaking it up with two wooden spoons as it browns.

  2. Add the garlic and tomato purée and stir for a few seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and redcurrant jelly. Add stock (you may need the full amount stock if your pan is very wide) and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 30–35 minutes.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

  4. Melt the butter in a lidded frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry over a high heat for a minute. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the lid and fry over a high heat for 2 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated. Add the mushrooms and thyme to the mince and stir well.

  5. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and run under cold water. Stir the pasta into the mince and check the seasoning.

  6. Spoon into a large, shallow ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the cheeses and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling around the edges. Serve piping hot with a green salad or tomato salad.



Bolognese bake

Bolognese bake

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