Recipe: Spring fever has me running back to a winter warmer ragu.
Just as we were celebrating the arrival of spring, down came the rains and on popped the heating as temperatures plummeted once more. As I write I am huddled in my beloved mexican blanket, a lurid pink, yellow and green affair that has kept me snug for over 20 years and adorned many a friend at a bbq or whilst lounging on my couch. Today, it’s keeping me company at the computer and masking my shivers as I resist turning the heating on until early evening. A stupid game but perversely entertaining!
So what to do on such a miserable wet day but cook up a ragu or as some prefer to call it a winter warmer bolognese. Simple but satisfying and guaranteed to warm the cockles!
Ingredients: I small onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 stick celery, 1 carrot, 350-500g minced beef, 1 large tin of plum tomatoes, Oregano or mixed herbs, salt & pepper, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, grated parmesan, your pasta of choice
Preparation: 5-10 mins & 40 mins cooking
1. Dice the onion and garlic finely, peel and dice the carrot and thinly slice the stick of celery.
2. In a large pan, heat a generous amount of olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook until starting to brown.
3. Add in the minced beef and cover for a couple of minutes until browned.
4. Add in the celery and carrot together with a pinch of salt and pepper and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
5. Finally, pour over the plum tomatoes and break using a wooden spoon and then stir in the oregano or mixed herbs. I favour plum tomatoes over tinned chopped tomatoes as they contain less water and tend to be more tomato-y. You can also use a jar of passata and/or add in a tablespoon of tomato puree if you want a stronger flavour.
6. Cover and allow your ragu to simmer for a good 30-40 minutes until your sauce is nicely coloured. At this stage, Italians will always add in an extra slug of olive oil for taste.
7. Serve with your pasta of choice and decorate with the grated parmesan and freshly chopped basil leaves.
As if by magic the sun has now come out!