Twelfth-Night Bolognese

At the end of Christmas, I find that the last thing left dwindling in the back of the fridge is cheese.

Cheese that proudly graced many-a-board or was ruthlessly pilfered at in the dead of the night when you’re standing in your pyjamas using the fridge light to salaciously break away nuggets of the good stuff whilst munching on biscuits with no care for crumbs. In my household, that cheese turns into a bag of rinds. Anyone else might throw them away.

Not me.

I’ve got something extra-special in store for a lucky few. They’re going to be the unsung heroes in my Spaghetti Bolognese, a secret ingredient that will turn it from ‘delicious’ into ‘holy-moly’.

Whilst your Bolognese is bubbling away, pop in a rind or two and let it work it’s magic.


RECIPE: Twelfth-Night Bolognese

FLAVOUR PROFILE: Rich tomato and cheesy goodness.

GOES GREAT WITH: Pile in a bowl with lots of spaghetti, more parmesan and maybe even a slice or two of garlic bread for good measure.

NOTES: After you have simmered and reduced the Bolognese, you might be left with a nub of cheese-rind that hasn’t dissolved. My tip is – fish it out and call it a Chef’s perk. Trust me, it’ll be delicious!

MAKES: Serves 4


  •  1 tbsp. OLIVE OIL
  •  4 rashers STREAKY BACON, snipped into 1cm lengths
  •  2 RED ONIONS, peeled and finely diced
  •  3 GARLIC CLOVES, crushed
  •  2 CARROTS, peeled and finely diced
  •  3 sprigs ROSEMARY, finely chopped
  •  Handful of BASIL, stems finely chopped, larger leaves finely shredded, smaller leaves saved for garnish
  •  1 heaped tbsp. TOMATO PUREE
  •  1/2 tbsp. TOMATO KETCHUP
  •  1 can (400g) CHOPPED TOMATOES
  •  2 BAY LEAVES, dried
  •  350g (12.3oz) MINCE, mixed pork and beef
  •  CHEESE RIND, preferably parmesan or similar. Use as much as you like.


  1.  Heat the OLIVE OIL in a large saucepan on a medium heat and add the STREAKY BACON to lightly crisp.
  2.  Throw in the RED ONIONS, stir to coat in the fat and immediately turn down the heat. Cook low and slow for 15 minutes until they are golden and sticky.
  3. Add the GARLIC and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Turn up the heat slightly. Add the CARROTS, ROSEMARY and BASIL STEMS, along with the BALSAMIC VINEGAR. Give it a good stir and cook with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, add the TOMATO PUREE and cook it out for 7 minutes.
  6. Turn up the heat. Add the MINCE. Season generously with SALT and PEPPER. Cook, stirring continuously, (breaking up if needed with a spoon) until the mince is browned.
  7. Add in the TOMATO KETCHUP and stir.
  8. Add the whole can of CHOPPED TOMATOES. Then, fill the empty can halfway with WATER and add to the pan.
  9. Tuck in the BAY LEAVES and the CHEESE RIND(S).
  10. Bring to the boil. Then, put the lid on, turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
  11. Turn off the heat, stir in the CHOPPED BASIL. Taste, and season, if needed. Serve sprinkled with PARMESAN and the small BASIL LEAVES with your choice of pasta.

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