Who doesn’t love a good Bolognese? Well, OK, maybe vegetarians, admittedly (for you, my lovelies, try my super-easy slow cooker macaroni cheese recipe). This is an authentic Italian Bolognese slow cooker recipe, the slow cooker mimicking perfectly the long hours an Italian mama might once have spent simmering a pot of Bolognese on the stove. I’m going to talk you through all the little tricks I use to make it. I’ve even got a nifty new little feature so you can print this recipe out. Yay!
I often make this overnight (no we don’t have it for breakfast!) or while the kids are at school. There’s nothing wrong with a good spag bol but even better is the treat of a midweek lasagne, made possible by time-shifting the no-supervision-needed slow cooker Bolognese.
I’m also including a brilliant (and easy) recipe for a Gnocchi Bolognese bake which I often take over to a family who have a new baby or are generally having a rough time. It’s the comfort food of the gods and even easier than lasagne. We served it up for 50 at our daughter’s christening so you could say it’s had fairly rigorous consumer testing!
The one thing you will probably notice is the large amount of onions. I think it’s the secret to the depth and flavour of this dish. Chopping 7 onions is not something I would undertake lightly (or without goggles of some kind) so I either use my ancient but trusty Magimix to chop them or, if cooking with the kids, use my “bashy thing”, a little Oxo food chopper/stress relieving toy that chops onions as you bash on the lid. I have a friend who simply uses frozen, chopped onions and swears by them. They’re not an expensive option but they often don’t have them at our local supermarket.
This recipe was adapted from one I found in the awesome More Slow Cooker Recipes by Katie Bishop. You can imagine that, as someone who had a blog entirely related to slow cooker recipes , I have just a few (*coughs*) slow cooker recipe books and this one is by far my favourite and most-used. It’s like Slow Cooking Properly Explained but for the Nigella generation.
So, on to the Gnocchi bake. You could make lasagne by your usual method using this Bolognese (yes, you could even make it in the slow cooker – assemble in the crock and cook for about 6 hours on slow or 3-4 on High)) but the bake is even easier and makes a nice change. It’s barely a recipe! I adapted it from a Waitrose recipe card given me by a friend who had cooked this for us when we had a newborn.
Gnocchi Bolognese Bake recipe for 6
Half of the quantity Bolognese above
1 500g (1 lb) pack of gnocchi di patate (dried is fine)
1 470 g jar white lasagne sauce
1 125g ball mozzarella cheese
Seasoning and grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Place the gnocchi on the base of a large lasagne dish.
- Tip over the Bolognese sauce
- spread the white sauce over the top
- Top with grated mozzarella. I usually add parmesan, some dried oregano and maybe some pepper at this point.
- Bake at 180C/400 F for about half an hour until bubbling, golden and piping hot throughout.
- Serve to rapturous sighs of contentment.
So, there you have it. One of the best uses for a slow cooker, I feel. Let me know in the comments how you get on. Buon appetito!