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.
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.