New TV series to be launched and another great time at the Ploughing!

It has been a brilliantly busy time of late and today (Wednesday) is such an exciting day with the launch of my new TV series in Dublin. Simply Better Dunnes Stores are the sponsors of the show and I am so excited about the series – Neven’s Italian Food Trails. It was such a thrill to film and I had so much fun and I really think you are going to love the dishes and also the fabulous people that we met along the way.

The programme airs on Thurs October 5 at 7pm on RTE One and I just can’t wait to see it all come together on the screen. And to get us all in the mood I am sharing a wonderful recipe for Ragú Ala Bolognese at the end of this blog – so make sure you read to the end!

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THE ITALIAN JOB… My Italian Ragu. I promise you will love it. Photograph: Fran Veale

Before I share the recipe however just a few words on another fabulous National Ploughing Championships. Just under 300,000 were at the Ploughing this year and that is quite phenomenal when you think about it. It just goes from strength to strength every year.

I have to say a big thank you to the Farmers Journal. It was great fun being at their stand again and I am so proud of the journey I have been on with them – hard to believe I have been cooking with them for ten years. Also to my own team; Claire, Ellen, Gerry, Susan and Kenneth my brother who sets up the cookery units. As always the team is so important and they are all great. And of course also to Simply Better Dunnes Stores. It is a huge thrill to be working with Diarmuid Murphy and all the team there. At the Ploughing we were using Simply Better products during our demos and interviewing different producers. It was just fantastic and could not have went better.

Now, here is that Italian inspired recipe I was promising you!

Ragú Ala Bolognese

Serves 8-10


2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely diced

1 celery stick, finely diced

350g lean minced beef

350g lean minced pork

300ml red wine

2 x 400g (14oz) can plum tomatoes

1 x bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, sage)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

675g-1kg spaghetti

Freshly grated Parmesan, to serve


1. Heat a large, heavy-based pan. Add the oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and taken on a little colour, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the minced beef and pork to the pan and mix until well combined, then sauté until well browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

3. Deglaze the pan with a little of the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any sediment. Pour in the remaining wine with the plum tomatoes and break up using a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil, add in the bouquet garni, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for at least 2 hours, or up to 4 hours is best, until the beef and pork are meltingly tender and the sauce has slightly reduced.

4. When ready to serve, bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil. Add a good pinch of salt and swirl in the spaghetti. Stir once and then cook for 8-10 minutes, or according to instructions on the packet, until the pasta is al dente. Drain and quickly refresh under cold running water, then return to the pan and add the bolognese sauce. Toss until well combined and then divide among warmed wide-rimmed serving bowls. Scatter over some Parmesan to serve.

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