Cooking in Isolation

by | Apr 30, 2020

Cooking in Isolation

By Lindsy Facchino

Vario Account Manager Lindsy Facchino has delved into her kitchen to stay sane whilst in lockdown.  Here’s one of her favourite recipes for you to try while in isolation. 


As a self-confessed restaurant junkie, when the announcement came on Friday 20th March that all bars and restaurants would close I felt rather sad as I tend to plan my weekends around food! Luckily I also have a passion for cooking, but a busy lifestyle has meant, like most people, that you get stuck in a routine of cooking the same dishes on rotation. In the absence of being able to go out, I’ve rediscovered my love of cooking and am opening up my repertoire of meals – much to my husband’s delight. I, by no means am cooking new dishes every night, but trying to plan new meals for the weekends has given me some of the buzz that I would get going out. If you live with people it’s great to take this in turns and surprise the household with an evening at home. I’ve also found a great idea to keep the excitement around the food at the weekend by having themed nights and going all out with music and drinks. So far we’ve had a Mexican and Chinese themed evenings and we’ve played authentic music also to get you in to that restaurant vibe.


This week I’m using all the extra time I have on my hands to really pimp up what is a classic Italian spaghetti Bolognese, my version will however be a slow cooked beef ragu. The quantities below will serve 4-6 – so you can freeze and leftovers or perhaps make a shepherds pie with the rest / or just adjust the quantities. I’d happily just eat it two days in a row as the flavour intensifies.




1kg stewing beef (chuck or similar)

  • 1tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 cup of celery
  • 1 cup of carrots
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 beef stock cubes
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 glass of red wine – something rich like a cabernet sauvignon, I used Barolo because I love it and could have a glass whilst cooking/eating!
  • 1-2 cups of water (if needed to loosen, use the water from the pasta at the end of the cooking)
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves


To serve:

Pasta – I like Rigatoni or pappardelle with this dish

Freshly grated parmesan

Crusty bread / side salad



Pat dry and season the beef

Heat 1tbsp olive oil and sear the beef on all sides until browned (takes about 5 mins on a high heat), remove from the pan and put on a plate

Turn the heat down and add the onion and garlic and the remainder of the olive oil, then add the carrots and celery after a minute and sauté slowly for 5-6 minutes

Add all the remaining ingredients for the ragu to the pan, turn up the heat up to simmer and down to a lower heat

At this stage you can either leave it on the hob on a low simmer for a couple of hours or put it in the oven – I prefer the oven as I don’t like to have to keep an eye on it

Check at 2 hours if the beef is shredding nicely and the sauce has reduced – if it hasn’t leave it a bit longer

Pasta – follow instructions on the packet – you might want to use some of the pasta water to loosen the sauce if you need to

Mix together, add the parmesan, pour a nice glass of the red and the job is done!



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