Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 35 min
30 ml (2 T) oil
5 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
500 g lean minced beef
60 ml (¼ c) red wine
250 ml (1 c) beef stock
800 g (2 cans) chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
5 ml (1 t) dried thyme
45 ml (3 T) balsamic vinegar
45 ml (3 T) brown sugar
10 ml (2 t) chilli flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
200-800 g dried spaghetti
Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry the bacon until golden over medium heat.
2. Add the onions and garlic, frying until softened. Increase the heat and add the minced beef. Fry it until it has browned, breaking down any chunks of meat with a wooden spoon.
3. Pour in the wine and boil until it has reduced in volume by about a third. Reduce the temperature and stir in the stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, balsamic vinegar, sugar and chilli flakes.
4. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover with lid and simmer the Bolognese sauce over gentle heat for 30 minutes until rich and thick, stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, stir in the basil and add any extra seasoning if necessary.
5. Remove from the heat to settle while you cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling water for the time stated on the packet. Drain and divide between warmed plates. Scatter a little Parmesan if using over the spaghetti before adding the Bolognese sauce, finishing with a little more basil.