A couple of weeks ago came the shock news that Brits cook just four different meals over and over again. This is one of them, being cooked by my dad the other night. Do you know what it is yet? I'll give you a clue. He still likes to cook retro dishes in-between his attempts at haute cuisine.
These four "comfort meals" are roast beef (go on you French, laugh your heads off), stir-fry (that surprised you, didn't it?), shepherds pie (which we make with beef, because we think shepherds look after cattle for a living) and... (drum roll)... this...
...or something like it.
Not a great deal of resemblance to any ragù Bolognese that ever came out of an Italian mamma's kitchen in Emilia-Romagna. For starters, dad served his sauce with spaghetti, which most British cooks do, but which those in the know would consider culinary blasphemy. If you've been paying attention, you will know which pasta should it be served with by now.
No sign of Parmigiano Reggiano (not because dad's a ragù Bolognese purist, but because he doesn't like it). But knowing dad, I'm sure he would have added some of that well-known Italian herb mixture, herbes de Provence. And, worst crime of all, not only did he fail to start with a traditional soffritto, he also added garlic. I don't care what 10,000 hyperlinks on the internet say, there's no garlic and no herbs in ragù Bolognese, not even Italian ones.
So there was not much in this "classic dish" that one could call either Italian or authentic. But it was, in a funny sort of way, really quite nice. British comfort food at its very best.