After last week’s bolognese-a-thon which involved me trying 27 varieties of bolognese in one day to find the best home cooked kind in Melbourne, I thought I would be spag-bolled out. But, my love for the dish goes so deep that I’m starting to think I’ll never get sick of it! Earlier this week I ate as Assaggi Italiani in Malvern, a place I had been told to try by numerous people.
Like a few places I’ve visited over the last seven and a bit months, Assaggi don’t offer spaghetti to accompany their bolognese. Their pasta of choice for Bolognese is ‘Straccetti’. I’m not going to lie, I had never heard of this kind of pasta before. It looked like bow tie pasta without the pinch in the middle. The Bolognese presented a good deep colour and it was stirred through, which is always a good thing for me.
From a flavour standpoint, this one was done very well – the bolognese had wonderful evenness between meat and tomato flavours. It was sweet without being sickly and it tasted like it had been stewing for a while – the flavours had layers of maturity common in a slow cooked sauce.
The pasta on the other hand was a bit of a miss for me. Most of the pieces were al dente, but some had clumped together causing bites to be undercooked. It was nice to have a change from spaghetti, but it was a shame the pasta wasn’t done as well as it should have been.
Here’s something that I haven’t experienced on this challenge before: it wasn’t hot enough. The sauce was only warm and by the time I took my photos and made a few notes, the heat hadn’t held. Another point was taken off for the meat clumps being slightly too fine – I wasn’t able to bite into a medium sized chunk of bolognese how I like.
The above aside, the actual flavour of the bolognese was one of the best, which created a conundrum – the flavour was there but other elements of the dish were working against it. I think Assaggi are on to something with this sauce, it just needs a bit more refinement.