Now that it’s getting distinctly autumnal, I’ve been trying to recreate a pasta sauce I had in an Italian restaurant in Berlin a few years ago. No idea if it’s authentic Italian – it has a central European flavour – but it’s easy to make, and very tasty.
500 g diced beef – stewing beef or similar
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, finely chopped
3 – 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
a knob of butter
a tsp of olive oil
salt & pepper
Pasta – I prefer penne or spirali.
Bring the beef to room temperature. Season with salt & pepper.
Heat the oil in a heavy casserole pan on a high-ish heat; once it’s hot, add the butter, and wait for the butter to melt. Then fry the diced beef until it has a bit of colour. Remove from pan and set aside.
Reduce the heat a little. Add the onion to the fat, and fry for a minute, then add garlic, leek, celery and carrots. Reduce the heat a little, and cook over a low-medium heat until they take on a little colour.
Add meat back to the pan, add paprika, fennel seeds and rosemary; stir together so the meat and veg are coated. Cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low-ish, and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. The lower the heat, the longer you should cook; the longer you cook, the better the flavour.
Boil some salted water, cook the pasta, and mix with the pasta sauce. Serve with grated or shaved parmesan.