2 tablespoons olive oil
40 g/12 oz butter
1 onion, cut into 6-mm 0.25-inch dice
1 celery stick, cut into 6-mm/0.25-inch dice
1 carrot, cut into 6-mm/0.25-inch dice
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
250 g/9 oz minced steak
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato purée
120ml/4 fl oz dry white wine (optional)
salt and pepper


1.Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and stir in the onion.
2.Cover and cook over a medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes or until the onion starts to become translucent. Stir every couple of minutes.
3.Add the celery and carrot. Cover and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and just starting to brown at the edges.
4.Stir in the garlic, if using, and cook for a further minute. Add the steak, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Increase the heat to medium-high.
5. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring, or until the meat loses its red colour and starts to fry.
6.Stir in the tomato purée. Cook for a further minute. Stir in the wine, if using, and 120ml/ 4 fl oz water.
7.If you are not using wine add a total of 250ml/ 8 fl oz water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to low.
8.Cover and cook over a very low heat for 1'½ hours, adding 120ml/4 fl oz water when the sauce seems to be drying out.
9.The meat should be almost covered with liquid during the firsthour of cooking and should bubble slowly.
10.This ragù (meat sauce) may be made with a combination of meats such as half minced veal and half pork or half minced steak and 1 Italian sausage, skinned and broken up
11. The sauce may also be flavoured with mushrooms. Fry 450 g/ 1 lb sliced mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and add to the ragu 30 minutes before the end of cooking.
12.For timbales or tagliatelle.

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