Spaghetti with a minced beef, mushroom and tomato sauce

This definitely isn’t spaghetti Bolognaise because it isn’t an “authentic” recipe, although I sometimes feel that authenticity can be so terribly overrated. Anyway, there are lots of different recipes that all claim to be a proper ragu Bolognaise, but this makes no claims about that.

It is, however, a delicious minced beef-based sauce and I think it counts as comfort food too.

The beef was more of the Aberdeen Angus mince that I used earlier in the week for burgers.

I sautéed some smoked streaky bacon lardons in olive oil and then added a crushed clove of garlic, two finely chopped onions and a finely diced carrot. I carried on cooking the basic soffritto until the vegetables were softened and then added the minced beef, breaking the lumps up with a wooden spoon, and cooked this on a higher gas until it was browned. Then I added in some halved button mushrooms, salt, pepper and oregano and cooked this for a few minutes longer.

Then I added a small glass of medium sherry (I’d have used Marsala, but I’d run out) and a chopped tin of plum tomatoes, plus a squeeze of tomato purée, and stirred this in, simmering away on a reduced heat.

I rinsed out the tomato tin with water and added this then I brought everything to the boil, reduced the heat and covered the pan.

After about 45 minutes I checked the sauce and added half a small carton of crème fraiche and carried on simmering until everything was nice and thick and reduced.

The classic Italian way is to add the pasta to the sauce, so when the spaghetti was cooked but still al dente, I drained it and tipped the colander into the pan with the sauce and mixed everything together.

All this needed was a garnish of chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, some ciabatta bread to mop up the sauce and a nice bottle of something red and fruity.

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