Before we get started, if you are Italian, or of Italian heritage, I implore you - PLEASE LOOK AWAY NOW. If you must keep reading, please don't dob me into your nonna.
The whole idea behind these 'Cheat's' recipes is to have it from pot to plate in under 30 minutes, which means tradition sometimes falls by the wayside. That doesn't mean it isn't good, it just means it isn't straight from a villa in Bologna.
This will make a giant pot of sauce so make sure there's room in the freezer or make a lasagne. Like most dishes of this kind, it always tastes better the next day.
1kg lean beef mince
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
140gm tub of tomato paste
400gm tin of chopped Italian tomatoes
700gm bottle of passata
2-3 tbs fresh parsley chopped (or 1-2 tbs of dried parsley, we're cheating remember)
1 tbs fresh oregano (see above and make it 2 tsp of dried)
2-3 bay leaves
salt and pepper to season
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
In a large pot, brown off the beef over a medium-high heat. When it's cooked I like to strain it; even lean mince is quite fatty, so let your thighs decide if you complete this step.
Reduce the heat to a medium-low, add the olive oil and then gently fry off the onion. It needs to be soft and translucent so be careful not let it brown, when it's just about done add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Return the beef to the pot and then add all the other ingredients, stirring very well to combine. Season with salt and pepper and increase the heat. Bring the sauce to the boil and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point.
Give it a taste and adjust seasoning as required.
Serve on top of spaghetti or your other favourite kind of pasta.