This past weekend, I ran my first half marathon. 13.1 miles within the cities of Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, bits of Irvine, and concluding at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa - it was a great and beautiful course. This has been one of the hardest tasks that I've forced myself to do and what helped the most was the volunteers and spectators- they are cheering you on and motivating you to finish, screaming your name or bib number. I remember there was a point in the race where I said out loud that I felt like a turtle, and the volunteer looked at me and said "Do you see the people behind you? You are not last, you are doing great. Keep it up!" I agreed with her and thanked her for words of encouragement. That's how most of my race played out; people encouraging me, and pushing me. Also, I had numerous messages from friends & family encouraging me on my race...it was really heartwarming to have a great support group. I had nothing but drive and determination to finish this race. My cousin, Elio, and girlfriend, Arminda, also ran with me, and I couldn't have done it without the both of them as well.
2 slices smoked bacon, preferably free-range, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 pound good-quality ground beef, preferably organic
2 medium onions, finely diced
1 (28 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
8 ounces of water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots small, peeled, and finely chopped
bunch fresh basil
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 ounces Parmesan cheese
1 pound dried spaghetti or penne
1. Place a large dutch oven on medium to high heat. Add 2 lugs of olive oil, bacon and oregano. Cook and stir until the bacon is lightly golden. Add the vegetables to the pan and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly colored.
2. Stir in the ground meat and the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add 8 ounces of water and add in a good pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Pick the basil leaves and place in fridge for later. Finely chop the basil stalks and stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; turn the heat down and simmer with a lid on for about an hour, stirring every now and again to stop it catching.
4. Remove the Bolognese sauce from the heat. Finely grate the Parmesan and stir half into the sauce. Chiffonade the basil and add to the sauce. Mix well, taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with spaghetti or penne.
Review: This was a great pasta meal that paired well with a mixed green salad and a side of focaccia bread. Jaime Oliver recommends that you drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan, and scatter with the small basil leaves — bellissima! AGREED!