For me spaghetti bolognese is such a simple meal to cook and a real comfort food to eat as well. But because it is so incredibly easy to cook it can end up being on the menu a little too often and become samey so I try to give it a little twist or add a few simple ingredient additions that just makes a little more delightful.
In an ideal world I would use turkey mince as I find it easier to flavour and also a lot less fatty so it does not cause a puddle of liquid mess in the bottom of the frying pan but this is often just a want (instead I will brown the mince off and drain the fat into a tub that can be used for something like chips in the future).
I will always ensure that there are onions, mushrooms and garlic in the dish as well as a good crack of salt and pepper and dried herbs like basil and parsley (fresh is obviously better if you happen to have it available).
We have vegetables in the flat all the time so will generally add pepper, carrot and something like broccoli into the mix as well to make it that little bit healthier and also looking a bit more vibrant. If there happens to be some salad we will add that to the side as well to add to the freshness and balance more.
As well as it needing time to simmer after putting in the chopped tomatoes to help ensure that it is not a runny mess, that it just has enough to coat the spaghetti after mixing it up, I find that it really reacts well to a dash of tomato puree and a splash of hot sauce or chilli sauce just to give it another level of complexity on the taste buds.
Finally, I know a lot of people would use shavings of parmesan or grate cheese on top but I actually find that getting an amount and roughly chopping it before sprinkling it on top works better as melted cheese can often increase the oily content of a dish and the flavour can get lost amongst everything else. Having chopped pieces often sees them go soft without them breaking up completely and making the taste and texture present throughout the dish (it also means you can make sure you are not going over the top on the cheese portion).
I am always looking for ways to make basic comfort dishes a little more exciting and to use things that are already in the fridge and cupboard; what are the changes that you make to a dish like spaghetti bolognese to make it a family hit in your family?