Italian Mince
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Ingredients / Shopping List

1 tin plum tomatoes in juice OR chopped tomatoes              

150g unsmoked streaky bacon (cheaper than lardons)

150g minced beef with less that 10% fat

6 fresh basil leaves or ½ tsp dried Basil

Fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano

2 cloves of fresh garlic

1 tsp balsamic vinegar  

1 tsp sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

300g linguini pasta to serve with this sauce

Prep Time:   0:20
Cook Time:   0:40
Serves:   4

Prep to Cook:  Two large saucepans, wooden spoons, veg knife, chopping board, teaspoon

Prep:1. Prep the tomato and veg:   

Open the tin of plum tomatoes in tomato juice and put them in a measuring jug

Use a long sharp knife score through the tomatoes until they are all reduced to smaller pieces.

Add to this 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper Add I tsp sugar as this brings out the tomato flavour

Break open the garlic bulb and use two fat clove segments and peel

2.  Prep the meats:

Snip up 150g streaky bacon into lardons or small pieces (use kitchen scissors for easier cutting)

Put them in a large saucepan and put on the hob to begin to cook them and extract fats

Fry off the bacon bits until you can see browning and more fat in the pan.

Crush the garlic cloves with a garlic press and add to the pan and stir

Open the mince packet and empty into the pan

 Using a wooden spoon press this raw mince out over the base of the pan to help it brown

Keep the heat up to allow the bright red raw meat to change to brown

Stir well and then reduce the heat and add the tomato mix from your jug

Add about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves and the same of oregano. 

If you cannot access fresh herbs use dried ones: 1 teaspoon of dried basil and oregano. 

3.  Prep to cook:

Mix and stir well. Put the lid on and simmer on a gentle heat (hob number 3) for 30 minutes Check and stir every 10 minutes to check it is not burning on the base of the pan

Prep the pasta accompaniment:

Whilst the meat is simmering – pre-boil a kettle of water

Measure out linguini pasta 75g of pasta per person to be served – try to be accurate as left over pasta is not a very useful ingredient.

Put the pasta in a large pan and pour over boiling water. NO LID as it makes the pasta boil over!

Place on the hob  and keep the heat high enough to ‘move’ the pasta in the pan.   

Simmer for 12 – 15 minutes.  (Read the timings for cooking on the side of your pasta pack because you may have selected ‘quick cook’ pasta which would be ready in less time) 

Test the pasta: lift a strand of pasta out of the boiling water and allow it to cool

Test by biting it with your front teeth, ‘al dente’ means it has a bit of bite and not be too soft

4.  Prep the meal:   

Stir the pasta and add 1 tablespoon oil to the water before draining it through a colander

Serve the pasta into bowls

Stir the sauce and then spoon over the pasta

Check it out !

Italian mince with linguine is a recipe for a complete meal.  The sauce is more meaty than the traditional Bolognese!  Enjoy the flavours and create a trusty main course that makes you feel well fed.  Use minced beef with a low-fat content for best result.  Less than 5% fat is worth it as the more the fat as you start the less amount of meat you get in the end. If you use ‘economy’ mince you might find that at the end you have a layer of fat and some of this will need spooning off.  If you let the mince go cold the fat will set and it is easy to lift it off and discard it.  

Cooks Know How:  This recipe enables you to manage your time well using the session to create a meal.  Your Italian meat sauce will have been on the hob first, followed later by your pasta.  You will have a hot meal without using your oven and will understand the idea of pan management.  You may also see the cost implications of using fresh or dried herbs.  Bring on grow-your-own!!  You can feel better about using mince because you will have improved the flavours to make it bold and ready to coat the linguini. Cooking meat turns it brown and makes it safe to eat.  Browning the meat also develops the flavour of the meat.  During cooking the meat shrinks and any fat melts to help tenderise the meat.  Thorough cooking is essential and moist-cooking, using favoursome juices, as in this recipe, aids the conversion of tough meat to tender meat.

Next Time

Try different types of pasta as it really does make a different meal.  Develop the flavours of the sauce by adding a glass of red wine.  Make two batches together and then use the extra sauce to create a lasagne dish the next day (or freeze it in readiness for a lasagne).