This, after pancakes, was the first thing I ever learnt to cook. It was a doorway to making so many other dishes, so I hold it with high regard. Leave out the mince and stock, and you’ve got yourself a nice tomato sauce. Add some kidney beans and spices, and you’re on your way to a really nice chilli. Add carrots, top it all with some mashed potato, then whack it in the oven – cottage pie.
If you’re not into cooking already, start making spaghetti bolognese, from scratch. It’s easy, delicious and will help with making so many other meals. Who needs Dolmio?
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 500g lean beef mince
- 1 tin plum tomatoes
- ½ pint stock, chicken, beef or vegetable
- ½ glass red or rose wine
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- few drops Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper
Place a saucepan, or frying pan with a lid, on a medium heat. Add a little olive oil and fry the onions for 4-5 minutes, or longer if you have time. Add the garlic and fry for a further 1-2 minutes.
Chuck the mince in the pan, and spend a little time breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mince changes colour.
Add the tomatoes, stock, red wine, puree, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, fit the lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Remove the lid and turn up the heat a little. Reduce until the sauce is nice and thick, making sure to stir often. Add the fresh basil, taste, and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with spaghetti, or your favourite pasta, with a little grated cheese on top. Leftovers are great in a jacket potato, or frozen and enjoyed at a later date.
Chilli con carne
Spaghetti alla carbonara