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Over the years I have gradually perfected this recipe and as im sure you'll agree it really livens up a previously unadventurous dish. add some finely grated truffle for real extravagance

Preparation time: 30mins
Cooking time: 45mins

Serves: 2 minimum


900g lean beef mince
100g proscutio ham
1 onion chopped
10-12 chestnut mushrooms sliced 2-3mm thick
10-12 on the vine cherry tomatoes (smaller the better)
1 good quality tin of chopped tomatoes
3tbs tomato puree
4 large cloves of large white garlic (oak smoked if possible) chopped
1 punnet of fresh basil
50g pine nuts
2 decent stock cubes
chilli infused oil or good olive oil
half bottle of reasonable red wine
fresh basil and shaved parmasan to serve
salt to taste


1) heat a frying pan with a little oil and fry the onions until soft
2)meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat a dash of oil and fry off the mince. when completely browned, drain off the liquids and add the onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and stir thoroughly and return to a medium low heat.
3)now fry the proscutio in the pan used for the onions until nicely browned then add to the sauce, now fry the mushrooms in the same pan until browned then also add to the sauce with the remaining oil from the pan and stir.
4)add the stock cubes and a glass of wine and stir. sauce should be bubbling lightly, if not, increase the heat a little
5)chop the basil leaving a little for garnish and put in a blender along with 3/4 of the pinenuts. small blenders are better for this but if you are struggling with a big one then add a splash of wine or oil to loosen it from the sides but generally as little liquid as possible
6) by now the wine that you just added should have reduced, if sauce is still quite runny, allow it to cook down a little more before adding the next glass.
7) now take the cherry tomatoes and either grill or blowtorch them until they begin to burn allowing them to blacken slightly giving a nice charcoal flavour. if you use a grill for this make sure its very hot because if you cook them for too long they will burst open when you stir them in the sauce and they wont burst in your mouth as they are supposed to.
8)meanwhile add the remaining wine and reduce down. now add the basil mixture and remaining pine nuts and stir the sauce. add salt to taste then add the tomatoes and gently fold in.
Serve with good quality spaghetti and a foccacia. hope you enjoy it

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