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Matt Preston's Best-Ever Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese (when done right) is one of the best midweek staples - and Kayla happens to think mine is better than Stephen's! i used to follow a recipe that contained milk - odd I know, but it does result in a rather silky texture - but this one has become my favourite since I discovered it earlier this year! AND there are leftovers to freeze for a second meal, which makes my heart very happy!



Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes or as long as possible
Skills needed: Basic


Olive oil
40g butter
2 medium carrots, diced small
3 medium brown onions, diced small
4 bacon rashers cut into fingernail size tiles
2 celery sticks, diced small
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped and crushed
3 tbsp tomato paste
1kg beef mince
1 lemon
500ml red wine
3 bay leaves
Splash Worcestershire sauce
2 cans tinned tomatoes
500ml beef stock
1 large pack fresh (if possible) tagliatelle  
150g Italian parmesan cheese 
1 loaf crusty bread and a green salad for serving


Place a large pot on the heat. 

To make soffritto

Pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 40g butter into the hot pan. 
When the butter is melted and the oil hot, throw in the carrots, onion and bacon. 
Cook for two minutes, stirring. Add in the celery. 
Cook until veg is soft and going translucent at the edges. 
Sprinkle over 1 tbsp of brown sugar and stir through. 
Add garlic and tomato paste. Move this all round the pan to cook out for three minutes. 
Scrape the tomatoey soffritto into a bowl.

Splash in some more olive oil. 
When it is hot, throw in the mince and cook until browned.
Stir the meat the whole time so it cooks evenly. 
Depending on the size of your pot, you may find it easier to do this in two batches.
Cut a 4cm long ribbon of lemon peel (without pith) and cut the lemon in half.
Scrape meat into the soffritto bowl.
Turn up the heat and deglaze using the red wine. 
When the wine has reduced by half, add back in meat, soffritto, bay leaves, a couple of good dashes of Worcestershire sauce, lemon peel, tomatoes and stock. Stir. 
Season with salt and a good squeeze of lemon juice from one half of the lemon. Reserve the rest.
Bring to the boil covered, then remove lid and turn the heat right down.
Cook very gently for up to four hours. Stir occasionally to ensure the sauce doesn't stick and burn. 
If the sauce gets too thick, add some more stock and stir it in. 
The sauce is ready when it smells irresistible, wonderfully thick, and is a dark red, glossy colour.
Taste and season with a little more salt and lemon juice as required.
You can now either serve it straight away or cool it and refrigerate before using the next day. 

Cook the tagliatelle in plenty of salted boiling water in a large pan. 
When the pasta is cooked but still a little firm to the bite, carefully scoop out a cup of the starchy cooking liquid and drain the pasta. 
Put a generous ladle of the bolognese sauce in the pasta pot (about two cups) and toss through the pasta. Moisten the combination with a little of the reserved pasta water so it isn't clumpy. 
Feel free to use as little or as much sauce as you like  we've got lots of plans for the sauce that's left over. 
Serve it with grated parmesan over the tagliatelle, bread for mopping up the leftover sauce and crisp green salad.

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