This cozy and comforting bolognese is made with ground beef and plenty of Vietnamese and Thai ingredients for a delicious blend of flavours that will get you excited for dinner. Because the minute you start smelling the delicious aroma from this Thai bolognese, you'll be counting down the minutes until you get to eat it. This rich and hearty Thai bolognese is packed with tons of flavour from lemongrass, star anise, Chinese five spice, ginger, garlic and tomato paste. This is probably one of my favourite recipes I've created in a long time and a very special one, and I hope you love it as much as I do.
Perhaps only around 5% of people will read this section and that's ok. If you just want the recipe, scroll on down to the bottom. Otherwise, keep reading to learn about how this flavourful Vietnamese pasta came to be.
I recently had a conversation with someone who told me they were so impressed with how I come up with recipes all the time. I told them, my brain is probably around 90% recipes now. I'm constantly creating, researching and thinking about food. Recipe creation is my full time job now, so it sort of makes sense that this is how my brain operates. But I also have creative slumps too. And one of the best ways for me to get creative again is going out to eat. I draw so much inspiration from restaurants. I don't have a formal culinary background, so it isn't always easy for me to recreate some of the dishes, but I do the best I can.
This is where this recipe comes from. Last year, when I was on my honeymoon in Hawaii, I visited one of the most delicious spots in Honolulu called The Pig and The Lady. All of the food we ordered was absolutely incredible. The standout dish for us was the Bò Kho Papardelle. I've never had Italian and Vietnamese fusion before, or even thought of how to merge the two. My favourite cuisines are Italian, Thai and Vietnamese. Because I can't just hop on a plane and head to The Pig and The Lady anytime I want (I wish!), I knew that it would become an obsession to remake this at home.
So this is my version of a Vietnamese pasta and I have to say, it's special and I'm pretty obsessed with it. If you love these types of Vietnamese and Thai flavours (and pasta), you will love this Bò Kho inspired pasta.
Bò Kho is a delicious Vietnamese beef stew that is cooked with lemongrass, star anise and cinnamon. The meat becomes super tender and carrots are added to round out the dish. It's typically served with rice noodles and/or a baguette.
It's really no surprise that turning Bò Kho into a bolognese works so well then, right?
The two were meant to be!
This recipe has quite a few ingredients, but they all work together to make an incredibly flavourful Thai inspired bolognese. Here's what you'll need.
Creating this rich, hearty and delicious Thai bolognese sauce is fairly easy and hands-off, but it will require some time to simmer away. This is essential to make a flavourful bolognese, so it may be best to make this one on the weekend when you have more time.
Finely chop one lemongrass stalk (inner parts only) and set aside. Roughly chop the remaining two stalks (tough outer parts removed). Create a small cheesecloth bundle (or use a small nut milk bag) and place the lemongrass along with the the star anise inside, tie it up and set aside.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and melt half of the butter. Add the onion and cook for two minutes, stirring often. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally, and breaking it apart with the back of a spoon, about eight to ten minutes.
Add the finely chopped lemongrass, ginger, garlic and salt and cook for another one to two minutes, until fragrant. Add the five spice, red pepper flakes and tomato sauce and cook for eight to ten minutes, until the tomato paste has turned deep red.
Pour in the fish sauce, tamari and sugar and cook for two minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and the add the cheesecloth to the dutch oven.
Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour.
After one hour, add the carrots and cook for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until the carrots are cooked through to your liking and fork tender.
Once the carrots are tender, spoon in the ricotta and stir to incorporate. Set aside until ready to serve.
Cook the pasta until al dente and set aside some pasta water for later.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the avocado oil. Once hot, add the basil, working in batches, and fry until crispy, about 10 to 15 seconds. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate. You can do this ahead of time and keep it aside.
When ready to serve, add the pasta to the bolognese (over low heat) and add a splash of pasta water if needed. Add the remaining butter and toss everything together until glossy.
Divide onto plates and top with the Thai basil and parmesan. Enjoy!
Keep leftovers stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three days.
You can freeze portions of the Vietnamese pasta sauce in a sealed container or freezer safe plastic bag for up to three months.
Let it defrost overnight in the fridge and then reheat on low heat when ready to serve with fresh pasta.
I share these products to show you what I choose to use in my kitchen as staple ingredients I use daily (or weekly). So if you opened up my fridge (or pantry), here's what you'll find!
I exclusively use Diamond Crystal kosher salt for all of my recipes. I prefer the texture, taste and consistency of this brand and highly recommend it for everyday cooking.
I recommend getting a high quality one, such as this one from Red Boat. It's a great brand, made with only anchovies and salt and doesn't have any added sugar.
Low Sodium Tamari:
Tamari is a great option for those needing a gluten-free soy sauce. I'm not gluten-free, but still primarily use this brand. It's not too salty and it tastes great.
I always recommend buying tomato paste from a tube so you can use what you need without having to open a can and potentially waste some of it, if you don't need the whole thing.
I really, really love noodles and pasta, so be sure to check out these other fun recipes!
Are you ready to make this? Let's get to it!
As always, if you make this Thai bolognese please share with me, by tagging me on Instagram or leave a comment and/or review below. I truly love seeing and hearing form you!
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This delicious Thai bolognese is rich, hearty and packed with Thai and Vietnamese flavours. Perfect for enjoying on a cold winter weekend.