The quintessential Italian meat sauce from Tamasin Day Lewis. Great for feeding a crowd or stocking the freezer
By Tamasin Day-Lewis
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • large knob of butter
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 kg minced beef, chuckor similar, with plenty of fat
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1/3 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • black pepper


1. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the onions and gently fry over medium heat for about 7 minutes until soft.

2. Throw in the celery, carrots and garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes.

3. Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt, and grind over some pepper. Stir until the beef has lost its raw pink look.

4. Add the bay leaves and milk, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the meat has absorbed the milk.

5. Now add about 1/3 teaspoon of nutmeg.

6. Pour in the wine, then add the tomatoes with their juice, and stir thoroughly.

7. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cook, uncovered, at a lazy simmer, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface, for 3 hours or more.

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