13 Apr 2020

Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Recipe by Duncan Welgemoed – Africola
Serves six


1 tablespoon lard or beef drippings 
50g pancetta, 
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, chopped
½ celery stick, finely diced
3 tablespoons garlic, finely diced sliced with a razor blade so it liquefies in the pan 
1 tablespoon kosher salt 
½ teaspoon ground black pepper 
2 bay leaves
Pinch of saffron 
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn 
2 teaspoon thyme 
1 teaspoon oregano 
1 teaspoon marjoram 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
250g minced beef 
250g minced pork
250g minced veal 
2 sweet Italian sausages (hot) (removed from its casing) 
6 osso bucco (marrow scraped out) 
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 glass red wine (Shiraz) 
2 cans plum tomatoes with juice 
250mL beef stock 
100mL heavy cream 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped 
1 packet of spaghetti 
100g freshly grated Parmesan 
100g freshly grated Pecorino


In a large pot, heat the lard over medium-to-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring until browned and the fat is rendered for four to five minutes.

Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring until soft for four to five minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, saffron, basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, cinnamon, nutmeg and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the mince in batches and the sausage. Cook, stirring until no longer pink, for about five minutes or until slightly caramelised, and then add the marrow.

Add two tablespoons of the tomato paste and cook, stirring for three to five minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, until half of the liquid is reduced (about two minutes).

Add the plum tomatoes with their juices, the remaining tomato paste and beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until thickened, about three hours. If the sauce is looking a little dry, top up with more stock otherwise your guests might make you sleep with the fishes if the sauce catches.

Add cream, butter and parsley, and stir well; simmer for two minutes. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve. Alternatively, hide in the kitchen, grab fresh bread and start working your way through the fat that settles on the top of the sauce. It’s so delicious.

Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in a large soup pot. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until al dente (eight to 10 minutes). Drain in a colander. I don’t need to explain what happens next: serve the food, eat.

This is a recipe from Duncan's upcoming cookbook, “Africola”. He describes the book as a reliable cookbook and unreliable memoir. It is available on pre-order on amazon early June and published in November.