I love dishes cooked long and slow. I think I’ve already mentioned this before. Now that the weather’s turned chilly again (wasn’t summer a bit short this year?), my thoughts turn to soups and stews and braises and to this tomato sauce, an oft repeated recipe in my flat. I think I first came across this recipe in one of the glossy weekend magazines that come with the newspaper. Of course, not knowing the actual name of the dish, I cannot find it anywhere online. Oh, the butter is my little addition.

Beef and Spaghetti

Please forgive the hideous photo – normally we serve the pasta first and the meat second (the two courses) but we were extra lazy this time and dumped the meat on top.

Beef and Tomato Sauce
serves at least 4.

2 x 700mL bottles of passata
500 g braising steak
2 large onions, chopped
olive oil
4-5 tbsps butter
freshly ground black pepper
salt and sugar to taste

OK, folks, it doesn’t get any easier than this. Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and fry your onions until they’re golden. Dump them into the bottom of a large, heavy based pot or casserole or into a slow cooker. If your steak is one giant one, slice it up into more manageable portions. Lay them in a single layer over the onions. Pour all the passata overtop along with some salt and plenty of pepper. Add the butter too. Reduce the heat and set the pot to simmer for a few hours. I use a slow cooker (it’s actually my rice cooker but it doubles as a slow cooker) and cook it for about 4 hours at what I can only assume is a high heat setting. Adjust the times for your own slow cooker.

Your flat/house is going to smell amazing during that time. Towards the end of cooking, have a taste and adjust for salt and sugar. Stir well to make sure the onions are incorporated into the sauce.

Boil some pasta and mix it with some of the sauce – that’s your first course; isn’t it the Italian thing to serve pasta first as it’s cheaper and will fill you up before the more expensive second course? The meat is served up as the second course and a little salad on the side wouldn’t hurt either. Dessert? Well, that’s the only thing this recipe won’t help you with!

This recipe makes quite a bit of sauce and we ate it with pasta the first day. Tonight, I’m shaking things up a bit by frying some courgettes and mushrooms and mixing in the beef, shredded, and the sauce. Eggs will be cooked overtop and we’ll eat the lot with bread. The sauce can also be used in lasagnas or as pizza sauce – it’s a multi-purpose tomato sauce.