If you have fussy eaters to feed, this is a great way of getting plenty of vegetables into them without them really knowing. Use a food processor to make light work of chopping up whatever you have floating around in your fridge, then cook it in with the smoky pancetta and minced beef. A good one to batch up and freeze.
1 large onion, quartered
2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
3 celery sticks, cut into 5cm pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large courgette
200g mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
150g smoked pancetta, cubed
500g beef mince (12% fat)
2 tbsp tomato purée
200ml red wine
300ml beef stock
700ml jar passata
100ml water
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pasta of your choice
Finely grated Parmesan
1. Put the onion, carrots, celery and garlic into a food processor and pulse in short bursts to chop the vegetables finely. Remove and set aside in a bowl. Add the courgette and mushrooms to the food processor and pulse to chop these finely too. Set aside in another bowl.
2. Heat half of the olive oil in a large non-stick casserole pan over a medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for around 5 minutes, until it begins to turn brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
3. Increase the heat under your pan to high and add the beef mince. Break it up quickly with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring, for 10–12 minutes until well browned.Remove the beef from the pan and set aside on a plate. Place the pan back on a medium-high heat.
4. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. When it’s hot, add the onion, carrot and celery mixture to the pan and sauté for 3–4 minutes or until the veg are tender.
5. Add the courgette and mushroom mix to the pan and cook over a high heat until tender and the liquid released by the vegetables is driven off.
6. Now add the beef and pancetta back into the pan, along with the tomato purée. Cook over a high heat, stirring from time to time, for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, stirring and scraping up any sticky bits from the bottom. Let the wine bubble until reduced by half.
7. Add the beef stock and passata to the pan. Pour the water into the empty passata jar and swish it around to clean out the jar, then pour that into the pan too and stir well. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and add some salt and pepper to it.
8. Serve the bolognese sauce with your favourite pasta and lots of Parmesan cheese.
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