Bolognaise Vol au Vents

Fed up with spag bol? Here’s a new twist on an old favourite…and saves slurping the spag til your chin is orange, and your specs look worse for wear…
(serves 6-8)

575g bolognaise sauce (1 large tin)
8 large Vol au Vent cases (approx 10cm)
1 tomato (finely sliced)
150g cheese (grated)

Bolognaise sauce
Melt one dessertspoon of olive oil and a small knob of butter in a heavy based saucepan. Lightly sauté one finely peeled and chopped brown onion, one crushed clove of garlic, a handful of finely diced celery and a sprinkling of dried basil. When soft, add 1 kilo of choice grade mince steak, and a cup of finely diced carrot.
Heat until brown, add 1 dessertspoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon tomato sauce, 1 tin chopped tomatoes, a splash of sherry, and one cup of beef stock. Simmer gently for one hour, add salt & pepper to taste. If eating on the same day as cooking, try to allow a while for the bolognaise sauce to cool right down to almost cold.

Heat oven to 180 C.

Remove Vol au Vent cases from packaging and place onto a baking tray. Spoon the bolognaise sauce carefully into the cases, until each case is full. Place the filled cases into the oven for about 15 minutes – the timing will depend on how cold your sauce was to begin with. While the cases are heating up along with the sauce, finely slice one tomato and prepare your grated cheese. After about 15 minutes, test the heat of the Vol au Vent contents, and when you think there is about 5 minutes still required, pop a thin slice of tomato into the middle of each case, top with grated cheese and slide back into the oven until cheese begins to brown.

Remember any leftover bolognaise sauce is easy to freeze, to be used again when in the slurping mood for spaghetti or other pasta.

Hungry folk can sometimes enjoy two Vol au Vent cases each, but usually one will be ample, if served alongside a crisp garden salad with a nice Italian dressing, accompanied by one of your favourite wines, and perhaps even a slice or two of garlic bread.