Beef and mushroom ragu
A rich ragu, filled to the brim with beef and vegetables, simmered for hours to intensify the tomato and garlic flavours. This very versatile sauce can be served over pasta, used to fill lasagne and cannelloni, or even spooned on to jacket potatoes.
For the ragu
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
150g smoked streaky bacon, chopped finely
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 medium carrot, grated
2 stems celery, grated
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince, 20 per cent fat for extra flavour
200g chestnut mushrooms, chopped finely
400g tin chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon sugar
250ml red wine
40g tomato puree
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes. Tip in the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for a further 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add the mince and break up with a wooden spoon, mix with the cooked vegetables then increase the heat and cook, stirring all the time, until the mince is cooked through.
Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Pour in the tin of tomatoes, half a tin of water and the sugar. Add the red wine and tomato puree, cinnamon bay leaf. Stir well and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve on freshly cooked pasta and top with shaved pecorino cheese. Scatter over a few fresh basil leaves and finish with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
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