Ingredients for 6 people:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
200g cubed smoked pancetta
1 kg beef mine
100ml balsamic vinegar
300ml red wine
A quarter of red chilli, seeded and diced (I left this out)
300ml beef stock
100g cherry tomatoes, halfed
A handful of baby spinach
60g pine nuts
1 garlic clove, chopped
50ml extra virgin olive oil
40g Parmesan, grated (plus more to serve)
Cook the onion, celery, garlic and carrot in 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan, over a medium heat, until the onion softens. I did this for about 4-5 minutes as otherwise my garlic started to burn.
Add the pancetta and fry for another 3 minutes until golden.
Add the mince and then cook for another 15 minutes or thereabouts until it is browned all over.
Add the balsamic vinegar and red wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.
Next add the chilli (if you are using), passata and beef stock and bring to the boil. Season and then reduce the heat to as low as possible, put on the lid, and leave to cook for 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Now you can relax and put your feet up! I actually didn't have time to do 3 1/2 hours and only did 2 1/2 and it worked just as well!
About 20 minutes before the time is up, it is time to prepare the rocket pesto and then cook the pasta.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden and then leave to cool.
Put the rocket, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan into a food processor and blend until smooth (ish). Taste as you go as you might need to add a dash more olive oil and seasoning.
Then start to cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions in salted boiling water. I cooked mine for 8 minutes so it was al dente.
Once the meat is ready, add the cherry tomatoes and spinach for one minute and stir in.
Add the cooked pasta and mix well.
Divide between bowls, add a spoonful of pesto and some shavings of Parmesan.
Even though this is a pretty time consuming recipe, it was totally worth it. In fact it was so good I cooked it both Wednesday and Saturday night! It is really easy and I love the way it is a combination of both bolognese and pesto pasta - a great success. It is also a good dinner party supper as you can cook it all beforehand (other than the pasta).
I think I might also be making the journey to Salt and Honey, the restaurant where this recipe is from, if this recipe is anything to go by, I expect it is full of many other culinary delights!