Being half Italian, I always thought it was in my blood to be able to make a delicious pasta sauce without too much effort. Turns out I was wrong. It’s especially hard when you’re trying to emulate your Nonna’s delicious pasta sauce for which there is no recipe written down – she would always just say “a little bit of x ingredient, a little bit of y ingredient” etc, etc. I managed to video her once making it so we do have her method documented, but trying to make a pasta sauce as amazing as hers is hard work. My favourite Italian dish is a penne Napolitana – easy, delicious, and done right can really be a simple dish full of the most amazingly rich flavour. Done wrong and it’s too tangy, too watery and leaves a lot to be desired. So once I moved out of home years ago I set about trying to make a deliciously rich pasta sauce, and it took me a good five years or so to get it right.
Now, we don’t make it from scratch with fresh tomatoes, but neither did Nonna in her later years, so I still consider this an authentic Italian recipe – just with the modern convenience of pre-made ingredients! This is the bolognese version with meat, but you can easily leave the meat out for a Napolitana version, or add a heap of diced veggies like eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms for a hearty vegetarian option. This recipe is for a huge vat of sauce, so if you don’t want to make as much, halve the mince meat, tomato paste and pasta sauce amounts.