This recipe is dear to my heart. A recipe passed down from one generation to the next. It has been in my family for many, many years.
Every Italian family has there own way of making this classic dish. This is the way my Mother and Grandmother taught me. I have been making this recipe for as long as I can remember. It has many beautiful memories attached to it from birthdays and Christmases to Sunday lunches at my Nanna's house with my cousins.
The longer you cook the sauce, the better. I cook it for at least 2 hours. Some of the best sauce I've made has cooked for 5-6 hours. The flavours all come together and it is simply delicious!
I always make a big batch of this, even if I don't have visitors. It freezes really well and is a great base for Minestrone and other soups.
This is the first time our recipe has been written down. I hope you too enjoy it and share it with those you love.
500g beef mince, preferably free range and organic
2 medium pieces of oxtail or osso buco, preferably free range and organic
2 x 700g bottles of tomato passata
2 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 generous tbsp tomato paste
2 medium brown onions, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
A handful of basil, broken into smaller pieces
4 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large heavy based saucepan. Add the garlic, onions and chilli flakes (if using) and sauté on a medium heat until onions become slightly translucent. Add the mince beef and oxtail and cook until it is slightly browned. Be sure to break up the mince as much as possible with a wooden spoon as you don't want large chunks.
Once the meat is browned, add the tomato passata, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring everything through. Fill one of the empty cans with water, then pour this into the other empty can and bottles to gather any remaining tomato. Add this to the pot, plus another 3/4 cup of water.
Toss in the basil, parsley and sugar. Stir everything through. Bring this to a boil and then turn it down to the lowest heat possible. Cook for at least 2 hours.
Serve with any pasta of your choice (penne is a favourite of ours) and top with a generous portion of Parmesan cheese.