The other day, I was scratching my head wondering what to make the kids for lunch. Because T1 and T2 come home from school an hour apart, I either need to cook twice, or make something that will keep. Looking into the fridge, I realised that I had the perfect ingredients (thanks to the superwife who keeps the fridge always well-stocked) for Ragu alla Bolognese, which is one of our family’s favourite foods. But not only had I served the kids Bolognese for dinner just a few nights prior, we also still had several bags of the frozen sauce still in the freezer. Since I had a spot of time, I really wanted to make something fresh for the kids, as opposed to defrosting a pre-cooked meal (which we do quite a bit these days).

Our kids have a tendency, because of the way we eat (and because we’re based in Singapore), to prefer Asian flavours. So I thought, why don’t I use the meat and make a Bolognese-inspired sauce with Asian flavours? We always have a few things in the pantry or fridge, including different kinds of miso paste and fixings for making dashi. Both ingredients are packed with natural umami, so I felt confident in swapping out the tomato element of a traditional Bolognese and using these products instead.

I also wanted to (secretly) include quite a bit of veggies into this sauce. Our kids are quite typical in that greens are not very high up on their list of favourite foods. Again, the superwife had picked up some nice looking zucchinis at the supermarket, so I figured I’d use these, alongside onion and carrot, and see if the tiny ones noticed (they didn’t).

This sauce also took considerably shorter to cook than our traditional Ragu alla Bolognese recipe. With that recipe, we cook the sauce for as long as we do because we want the tomato to really break down and get incorporated and for all the flavours to meld. With this recipe, since we’re braising in miso and dashi, I was able to reduce the cooking time by almost half.

This came out even better than I had anticipated. I was particularly pleased by just how much umaminess was concentrated into the sauce. T1 especially loved it and mopped his bowl clean at light speed.

The recipe for this pasta sauce is below. I honestly still haven’t been able to come up with a good name for this. I told the kids it was “Japanesey Bolognese” for lack of something more inventive. Maybe one of you can help me name this.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his three kids!

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17 July 2018

Comments

Hi Aun. The recipe sounds yum! Do you make your own dashi in thie recipe? I am always a bit concerned to use the dashi powder.

Hi Eva, we tend to use two types of dashi. One comes in individual sachets which can be placed in water that has just been boiled for 5 minutes. With those you then need to season the dashi with soy and mirin. The other is a concentrated form which you dilute with water. I’ve found a very high quality version of this at the local Japanese supermarket.

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