Pep up your pasta

Brits are boosting their favourite dish of spaghetti Bolognese with a variety of additions including chocolate.

A survey of 2,000 adults found that although over half of the country says the spaghetti based meal is their all-time best, many customise it with their own flavours. Eight in ten people never use a recipe when creating the dish, and 56 per cent regularly improvise – adding Worcester sauce, ginger or even chocolate to the dish. Other popular additions to tone of the nation’s favourite meals include olives, gravy, paprika, bacon, lentils, kidney beans and baked beans or – for a healthy option – carrot, celery or courgettes.
 
Take a look at Samphire’s recipe section where you will find a recipe for duck ragu with chocolate. The sauce incorporates 100 per cent cacao, as opposed to a sweet chocolate, which adds to the richness of the flavour.
 
A spokesperson for Sacla, which commissioned the research, said: “Spaghetti bolognese is a family classic, but the best thing about the dish is its versatility.
You have the base ingredients of beef mince, tomato sauce and spaghetti, but after that it really is down to the house chef to add in whatever is in the cupboard. This is why mums and busy professionals opt to cook the dish on a regular basis; it’s so quick and easy to make, and yet tastes great with whatever ingredients are available.”
 
Other reasons for mixing up the ingredients a little include running out and having to find a suitable alternative (28 per cent) and just wanting to do something different every now and then (29 per cent). One in 10 people say they’d be tempted to add more of a flair to the meal if they were serving it up to guests as part of a dinner party, and wanted to impress.
 
More than half of respondents say the meal is one of the few that the whole family can enjoy, and four in ten people say it’s their go-to meal when they can’t think of anything else to cook. Only six per cent of people have managed to make a spaghetti Bolognese completely unpalatable after adding their own ingredients – of these, too much chilli, garlic, green peppers, anchovies and vinegar were amongst the causes of bad taste. Everyone has their favourite and treasured bolognese recipe and from time to time we all like to add some ingredients to give extra oomph!
 
THE NATION’S FAVOURITE BOLOGNESE BOOSTS
1. Red wine
2. Worcester sauce
3. Chillies
4. Bacon
5. Celery
6. Grated carrot
7. Ketchup
8. Paprika
9. Pesto
10. Courgettes
11. Lentils / pulses
12. Tabasco sauce
13. Olives
14. Kidney beans
15. Baked beans
16. Gravy
17. Marmite
18. Chocolate
19. Brown sauce
20. Ginger
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