Grape and Grain Recipe Archives - a collection of food recipes with wine, beer and spirit pairing, based on local Australian produce wherever possible.

  • Recipes

    Ragù alla Bolognese

    Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe
    Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe

    Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic dish all around the world. Especially us Aussies and Brits with our “Spag Bol”. We all grew up eating it. Near every Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant we went to served it, and our mums made it near every week. But, there’s one place in the world where you’ll never find Spaghetti Bolognese… Italy!

    That’s right. Spaghetti Bolognese is not, and has never been, a thing in Italy. In fact, most of what we’ve been cooking, or is served, as Bolognese Sauce outside of Italy is nothing like proper Ragù alla Bolognese at all!

    What we get most of the time is more likely just cooked beef mince swimming in a tomato sauce. That’s the exact opposite of what a good Ragù alla Bolognese should be.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I think ‘Spag Bol’ has long since become a dish all its own. There’s nothing wrong with cooking up a big pot of Aussie Bolognese sauce full of tinned tomatoes, garlic and half a bottle of Masterfood’s Italian Herb Seasoning. Piling all that on top of spaghetti (all covered with cheese) and mopping up the sauce with garlic bread is an Australian institution!

    But, it is time we separated the Italian-inspired dish we created from the authentic dish named after the Bologna region Italy where it was invented. So here, as traditional as I can make it with but a couple of slight variations, is my recipe for Ragù alla Bolognese.

  • Recipes

    Loaded Savoury Mince with Pasta

    Plated savoury mince with grated cheddar
    Plated savoury mince with grated cheddar

    Growing up as an Aussie kid in the 70s and 80s the secret to cheap, quick and easy meals for our hard working parents was, and still is, the humble mince. Spaghetti Bolognese, meatloaf, rissoles, tacos, and the pinnacle of meal versatility…the one-pot savoury mince!

    As homely and comforting as this classic dish is on its own, there are so many ways you can use and modify the base recipe. My version below is packed with vegetables and cooked with pasta. You can use most any short pasta – macaroni, shells, penne, rigatoni, fusilli, casarecce, orecchiette – or you can leave out the pasta and serve over rice or mashed potato. For other non-pasta options, you can put the savoury mince in a casserole dish and spread mashed potato and cheese on top to make a cottage pie. Stuff a baked jacket potato with it. You could even put in inside puff pastry to make pasties.

  • Recipes

    Gnocchi di Zucca con Ragù di Agnello e Funghi
    (Pumpkin Gnocchi, Slow-Braised Lamb & Mushroom Ragù)

    Gnocchi di Zucca Con Ragù di Agnello e Funghi - Pumpkin Gnocchi with Slow-Braised Lamb & Mushroom Ragù with Carillion Sagrantino red wine
    Pumpkin Gnocchi with Slow-Braised Lamb & Mushroom Ragù

    Most of the time, I’m not the one at The Grape & Grain to choose the wine. I do the cooking, and generally leave the wine pairing to my wife. She’s so much better at it than I am.

    Occasionally, she’ll throw me a curve-ball and message me with a wine selection before I’ve had a chance to come up with the menu. “Here,” she says. “I’d like you to cook something to go with this!”

    That’s always much harder for me: working backwards from Wine to Food. It’s not a process I enjoy and would rather just cook the food.