There is some pasta sauce simmering on my hob while I'm typing this. It's nothing particularly fancy. Instead it's one of those meals, I have made so many times that I don't really have a recipe. Today, I have meassured the ingredients though, so that I can share it here. One tip I have is that next time you buy some fresh parmesan and have used it all up, keep the rind. Just throw it into the sauce (or any Italian style tomato sauce) while it's simmering. It adds great flavour. The rinds freeze well too, if you have got no oppertunity to use them straight away.
Sylvie's Beef and Tomato Pasta Sauce
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2lb lean minced beef
1tsp vegetable or beef stock powder or 1 stock cube, crumbled
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 bell peppers (any colours, I like to use a variety), chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes with herbs (400gr)
3tbsp Heinz tomato ketchup
3tbsp milk or single cream
1 splash Worcester Sauce
1tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2tbsp dried oregano
3/4tbsp caster sugar
6 chestnut or button mushrooms, sliced
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat a little oil in a heavy bottom frying pan.
Add the onions and fry over medium heat until they start to soften, but not brown.
Add the minced beef, making sure you break it up with your wooden spoon. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sprinkle with the stock powder. Stir occasionally until the meat is no longer pink.
Add the garlic and chopped peppers. Fry for another couple of minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes, ketchup and milk (or cream). Season with Worcester sauce, balsamic vinegar and oregano. Stir in the sugar to take some of the acidity out of the tinned tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring occassionally.
Add the mushrooms and simmer for a further 15 minutes. The sauce is now ready, but you can simmer it for longer to develop even more flavour. You just need to make sure that it doesn't get too dry, adding some liquid vegetable stock if that happens.
Serve with your favourite pasta and plenty of freshly grated parmesan.