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Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves 4-6

Preparation time 1 hour
Cooking time 1 to 2 hours

Streaky end of 8 rashers of bacon, diced
120ml/4fl oz good olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
100g mushrooms, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed with a little salt
½ tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
½ tsp marmite
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
900g/2lb lean minced steak
110g/4oz fresh chicken livers, finely chopped
750ml/1¼ pints dry red wine
1 litre/1¾ pint beef stock
450g/1lb dried spaghetti
salt and ground black pepper

In a large, heavy-based pan, fry the bacon in 2 tbsp of the olive oil. When the bacon is crispy and has released some natural fats, add the mushrooms for a minute or two before the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and oregano and cook over a medium heat until the vegetables have softened and taken on a little colour. Add the canned tomatoes, the tomato purée, marmite and Worcestershire sauce and honey. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat another 2 tbsp of the olive oil and fry the mince in small batches until browned. While the meat is frying, break up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon. Repeat until all the mince is browned. Drain off any fat and add to the vegetable mixture.

Add 2 tbsp of the oil to the same frying pan, fry the chicken livers until brown and crusty and add the livers to the meat. Deglaze the frying pan with some of the red wine, scraping any crusty bits from the bottom. Pour this wine, the remaining wine and the stock into the tomato and meat mixture. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, for about 2 hours. Season to taste. If the liquid reduces too much, top up with water. (If you are preparing ahead allow to cool, then chill. When cold, lift off any solidified fat.)

Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling water with some olive oil. When the pasta is cooked and the sauce heated through, serve the sauce on top of the pasta and grate on some parmesan if you wish..