BEEF PASTA SAUCE
This is my version of a meaty, tomato-flavoured pasta sauce, based on my mother's recipe, which she created after eating a similar dish in Italy.
about 1 kg ground beef
(a little butter or olive oil)
about 145 g thinly sliced, smoked, fatty bacon (salt content max. 2,4 %)
350 ml finely chopped onion
200 ml finely chopped carrot
200 ml finely chopped stalk celery
about 800 g canned chopped tomatoes
about 100 - 150 ml (or to taste) tomato paste
about 400 ml meat stock or 400 ml water and 3 tsp meat fumet
about 4 garlic cloves
sweet paprika powder
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 - 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
pinch of fresh or dried oregano
1 - 2 bay leaves
about 25 ml cream
I tend to vary and/or simplify this recipe a lot, sometimes leaving out the chopped tomatoes, the bacon, some of the vegetables or the cream, or adding more cream or some chopped red bell pepper, champignons, etc, so that the result may be a bit different each time.
However, besides the beef, the main basic ingredients used for this dish at its simplest should be the onion (and carrot), garlic, meat stock and tomato paste, preferably enriched with a dash of cream.
If the type of bacon you are using is very salty, reduce the amount of it. Finely chop the bacon and let it sweat slowly and brown slightly in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring every now and then.
Add the onion and sauté in the bacon fat, stirring, until soft and translucent, adding some butter or oil, if necessary.
Add the chopped carrot and celery and let them sweat for a few minutes.
Turn the heat to the maximum, crumble the ground beef in the pan and fry, stirring continually, until all the excess moisture released from the meat has evaporated.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes, meat stock, tomato paste, herbs and spices and the garlic through a garlic press. Stir and bring the mixture to the boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and let the sauce simmer slowly for at least two to four hours, stirring every now and then.
Add some more stock to the pan, if the sauce seems to dry out too much. Towards the end of cooking time, add some cream in the sauce. The sauce is ready, when it has cooked down to a smoothish, thickish ragout, see the pictures above and below.
Remove the bay leaves and any woody herb stalks.
Serve the sauce with cooked pasta (eg sturdy penne or fusilli, thick tagliatelle, etc), sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
In addition, you can serve some good bread or baguette and fresh salad with lettuce and tomatoes.
Recipe source: family recipe.