Nothing beats a meaty pasta dish to warm you up from the inside. But, if you want to reduce your red meat intake and add something extra, think mushrooms. It adds an umami flavour to the beef with a lot less fat and sodium than the full meat version.
You’ll need: 30ml olive oil; 1 onion, peeled & chopped; 1 carrot, peeled & chopped; 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped; 4 sprigs thyme, woody stalks removed; 250g beef mince; 250g button mushrooms, sliced; 1 can chopped tomatoes; 1 cup beef stock; 5ml sugar; 5ml smoked paprika; salt & pepper to taste; freshly cooked pasta (like spaghetti), to serve; fresh basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese, for serving
Heat the oil in a medium pot, then add the onion and carrot. Fry over medium-high heat until soft but not brown yet. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
Add the mince and mushrooms and fry, breaking up lumps with your wooden spoon. Fry until the mixture starts to catch on the bottom – about 10-15 minutes, then add the tomatoes, stock, sugar, paprika and stir well. Season with salt & pepper, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours), stirring now and then.
Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot over freshly cooked pasta, scattered with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.