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April 30, 2020

Iso challenge: Cook this high-roller spaghetti sauce from Duncan Welgemoed

The recipe’s 31-item ingredients list includes five kinds of meat and requires a flush bank account but sounds delicious.


With news overnight that Duncan Welgemoed has sent his long-time-coming Africola cook book off to the printers (available via Amazon at some time in the future), we remembered we had this recipe kicking around – a hangover from “what could have been” Tasting Australia – put forward by the much esteemed chef.

Shortly after Tasting Australia announced the postponement of its 2020 event, CityMag reached out to the festival to see how we could keep people in touch with the program while a new date is sought.

We mention this as forewarning. The recipe we received – Duncan Welgemoed’s Spaghetti Meat Sauce – was given to us before the full economic impact of the coronavirus was known.

And it is a doozy.

The recipe list is exorbitant, decadent, and, needless to say, expensive – but, if you’re lucky enough to have gainful employment and to be living without fear for your economic future, this is the dish for you.

For the rest of us, we live in aspiration.

See the recipe below, with a brief introduction from Duncan.


Duncan Welgemoed’s Spaghetti Meat Sauce

 This is an excellent recipe to cook for the family during this time of social distancing.

Even if you’ve somehow avoided reproducing, I would recommend you cook the entire recipe for yourself and eat it while watching Goodfellas, knowing the cholesterol in this dish is more dangerous than any virus.

Buon appetito! 🙂


Ingredients (Serves 6)

– 1 tablespoon lard or beef drippings
– 50g pancetta
– diced 2 onions
– chopped 2 carrots
– finely diced Half-a-stick celery
– finely diced 3 tablespoons garlic, sliced with a razor blade so it liquefies in the pan
– 1 tablespoon kosher salt
– ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
– 2 bay leaves
– Pinch of saffron
– 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn
– 2 teaspoon thyme
– 1 teaspoon oregano
– 1 teaspoon marjoram
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 250g minced beef
– 250g minced pork
– 250g minced veal
– 2 sweet Italian sausages (hot) (removed from its casing)
– 6 osso bucco (marrow scraped out)
– 4 tablespoons tomato paste
– 1 glass red wine (Shiraz)
– 2 cans plum tomatoes with juice
– 250mL beef stock
– 100mL heavy cream
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
– 1 packet of spaghetti
– 100g freshly grated Parmesan
– 100g freshly grated Pecorino



1. In a large pot, heat the lard over medium-to-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring until browned and the fat is rendered for four to five minutes.

2. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring until soft for four to five minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, saffron, basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, cinnamon, nutmeg and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the mince in batches and the sausage. Cook, stirring until no longer pink, for about five minutes or until slightly caramelised, and then add the marrow.

3. Add two tablespoons of the tomato paste and cook, stirring for three to five minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, until half of the liquid is reduced (about two minutes).

4. Add the plum tomatoes with their juices, the remaining tomato paste and beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until thickened, about three hours. If the sauce is looking a little dry, top up with more stock otherwise your guests might make you sleep with the fishes if the sauce catches.

5. Add cream, butter and parsley, and stir well; simmer for two minutes. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve. Alternatively, hide in the kitchen, grab fresh bread and start working your way through the fat that settles on the top of the sauce. It’s so delicious.

6. Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in a large soup pot. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until al dente (eight to 10 minutes). Drain in a colander.

7. I don’t need to explain what happens next: serve the food, eat.


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