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Les Petits Chefs – Food Revolution Week 8 (and a winner!)

Jamie Oliver’s Bolognese Sauce

Serves 4-6

2 slices of smoked bacon, preferably free-range or organic
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
(we added mushrooms – about a cup of finely sliced button mushrooms)
olive oil
2 heaped teaspoons dried oregano
1 lb good quality ground been, pork or (even better!) a mix of the two
2x 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of fresh basil
4 oz parmesan cheese
1 lb dried spaghetti or penne

To make your sauce:
Finely slice the bacon.  Peel and finely chop the onions, garlic, carrots and celery – don’t worry about technique, just chop away until fine.
Place a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high heat.  Add 2 lugs of olive oil, your sliced bacon and the oregano and cook and stir until bacon is lightly golden.
Add the vegetables to the pan and stir every 30 seconds until softened and lightly coloured, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the ground meat and the canned tomatoes.  Fill both empty cans with water and add to the pan (we didn’t do this – it was watery enough already, and I had already drained the tomatoes).  Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Pick the basil leaves and add the stalks to the pan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer with a lid on for about an hour, stirring every now and again to stop it catching.
Remove Bolognese sauce from the heat.  Finely grate the parmesan and stir half into the sauce.  Tear and stir in any larger basil leaved, keeping the smaller ones for sprinkling over before serving.
Mix up, have a taste, and season with a little more salt and pepper if needed – congratulations – you now have a beautiful Bolognese sauce!
At this stage, you can allow it to cool, bag it up and freeze it, or eat it straight away with pasta.

To cook your pasta and serve:
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.  Add your pasta and stir, following directions on the packet until al dente.
Drain the pasta and return to the pan.  Add half the Bolognese sauce to the cooked pasta and mix well, adding a little of the reserved cooking water to loosen.
Divide between your plates and spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan over top and scatter with the rest of the basil leaves – bellissima!