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1 tbsp olive oil
2 echalion shallots, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
200g Aberdeen Angus 10% fat beef mince
2 clove/s cloves garlic, crushed
200ml whole milk
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 large aubergine
200ml white wine
100g red split lentils
2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
450g dried pasta, such as spaghetti or bucatini
Heat the oil in a large nonstick sauté pan. Add the shallots, carrot and celery and cook over a low heat for 5-6 minutes until softened but not browned. Turn up the heat, add the mince and seasoning, breaking it up with a fork and cooking until lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, then add the milk and nutmeg and simmer until the liquid is reduced.
Cut the aubergine into 1.5cm cubes. Push the mince and vegetables to one side of the pan and add the aubergine. Cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes until browned. Add the wine and simmer fast until almost evaporated.
Add the lentils and the tinned tomatoes to the pan, breaking up the tomatoes with the edge of the spoon. Season and bring to the boil. Heat so the surface is just bubbling slightly at the edges and simmer for at least 1½-2 hours until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is rich and thick. Add more water if the sauce dries out and stir occasionally. Check the seasoning.
Cook the bucatini according to the pack instructions. Toss with the sauce. Serve with grated Parmigiano and a green salad scattered with pumpkin seeds, if liked.
To make the sauce vegetarian, replace the beef with another 150g red split lentils and add extra water to keep the dish moist as it cooks.
To freeze Cool and freeze the sauce in rigid sealed pots for up to three months. To use, defrost completely in the fridge overnight. Reheat in a pan until simmering, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed. Use as above.
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