1 kg minced beef (or 3/4 beef, 1/4 pork in proportion)
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 large onion - finely chopped
125 g pancetta or streaky bacon - finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/8 tsp (pinch) dried thyme*
1 tsp dried oregano*
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil*
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
1 cup full-fat milk
1 x 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
500 g passata (tomato sauce)
1 Tbsp double concentrate tomato puree (tomato paste) [optional]
2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
freshly milled black pepper
1/2 cup beef stock or water
butter or olive oil
125 g chicken liver - trimmed, washed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces [optional]
- In a pan (preferably non-stick), drizzle some olive oil and heat it up. Brown the minced meats in batches. Set aside.
- If using chicken liver - wipe the pan and heat up some more olive oil or butter. Cook the chicken liver until well cooked and crumbly - about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, then using a fork mash it up. If need be, finely chop some of the bits of liver that refuse to get mashed.
- In a big stewing pot, heat the 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and gently fry the bacon until it changes colour.
- Add in the garlic and cook until aromatic.
- Stir in the onion and cook gently for about 4-5 minutes or until translucent.
- Turn up the heat to medium and add the carrots and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the spices - basil, thyme, oregano. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Tip in the browned minced beef and white wine. Simmer until all the wine has evaporated.
- Add the milk and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until almost all the liquid has dried up.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, passata, tomato puree (if using), bay leaf, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, chicken liver, salt, pepper, and stock.
- Bring to boil then bring down heat to lowest setting and simmer for *at least* 2-3 hours. The longer you simmer it the better.
- If you have more fresh basil lying around, chop about 2 Tbsp of it and stir in the sauce.
- Serve with freshly cooked al dente pasta such as spaghetti or tagliatelli.
*Note: In place of the basil, thyme, and oregano, you may use 1 Tbsp of Italian mixed herb.