Despite it being an unseasonably warm winter in London, there is nothing more enjoyable than coming home on a wet and windy January evening to a bowl of spaghetti bolognese. Rich, dark and comforting (January is a trying month in the UK without adding food and wine deprivation to the list!), it is an easy dish to prepare on a Sunday afternoon - glass of wine in hand - for a weeknight supper.
One of our favorite recipes is Nigel Slater's "A Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese" from his fantastic Kitchen Diaries book.
Preparation is easy (if you are in a rush the packets of fresh soffritto from Waitrose/Ocado are a brilliant time-saver), and the long, slow cooking time means you can leave the sauce to putter away on the hob without much intervention. Just an occasional stir to check the flavours and make sure it isn't sticking to the pan.
We generally double (or triple) the recipe if we are expecting guests and like to add a dash of double cream along with the milk which seems to sweeten the sauce slightly and balance the acidity.
When it comes to serving, a good chunk of parmesan, grated, a glug of really good peppery olive oil (we use the excellent River Cafe Extra Virgin Olive Oil which is available at our Battersea store - please call ahead to check stock availability) and a handful of torn basil leaves.
The wine? For last night's supper, we paired a bottle of Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo 2013 with the bolognese, the characteristic tannins working beautifully to counter the meaty richness of the sauce and sharp parmesan.
Two other excellent easy-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo's are the superb G.D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo 2013 (one of our favourite wines) and Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2013. Essentially "baby Barolos", these Nebbiolos are softer and more approachable than the Barolos, affordable for weeknight drinking, perfect for right now, and most importantly, delicious!
Of course the sensational Massolino Barolo 2011 would also pair terrifically with this dish if you are looking to really chase away the January blues.