4 or 5 slices of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
500g beef mince
2 glasses of red wine
300ml (1/2 pint) milk
2 (400g) tins of chopped tomatoes
300ml (1/2 pint) strong beef stock
2 tablespoons sugar
a good squirt of tomato ketchup
salt and pepper to taste
mixed herbs to taste
1 pinch chilli flakes (optional)
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Method Prep:20min › Cook:4hr › Ready in:4hr20min
In a deep pan or saucepan, fry the chopped bacon in a little oil until it starts to brown and the fat melts.
Add the onion, carrots and celery, and fry until soft.
Add the mince and fry until browned, taking care to bash out any lumps in order to make a smoother sauce.
Add 1 glass of wine to the mince and reduce until most of liquid has gone. Drink the other glass...
Add the milk and again, reduce until the most of the liquid has evaporated. Don't worry if the milk separates, it will all combine in the end. You need to keep stirring as the milk will want to burn on the bottom. In the end, the mixture should be fairly dry, but this is okay as we will be adding more liquid.
Add two tins of tomatoes and the beef stock and stir thoroughly. Add the sugar and the ketchup. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for at least 3 hours on a low heat, the longer the better. Stir occasionally to avoid it sticking to the bottom.
Whilst the sauce is simmering, add salt, pepper and herbs to your own tastes. Add the chilli flakes if you want a little kick.
At this point you can have a sleep, go to the pub, watch a film, etc. Apart from the occasional stir, the sauce can be left for as long as you like.
Take the pan off the heat to rest while you cook the pasta, I prefer something like fusilli or penne, but spaghetti is traditional (at least in the UK). Whatever you choose, your sauce will be perfect, enjoy!
I like my sauce to taste a little sweet, hence the 2 tablespoons of sugar. If you wish, you can reduce the amount of sugar by half to lessen the sweetness. The sugar is there mainly to counteract the sharpness from the wine and bring out the flavour of the tomatoes.
Whatever they may say on television, don't use an expensive wine, the rest of the meal is reasonably cheap so don't blow it by spending loads on wine. The wine is there simply to give your sauce an extra richness and you can leave it out if you wish, we are not looking for "subtle hints of raspberry" here because you won't taste it at the end.