Richly flavoured and textured this is the perfect sauce to serve with polenta or wide pasta noodles like pappardelle.
30g (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms 250ml (1 cup) hot water for mushrooms 2½ Tbsp olive oil 1 small onion, peeled and chopped 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped 350g (12 oz) minced (ground) beef Salt and freshly ground black pepper 75ml (2½ fl oz) dry white wine 400g (14 oz) can crushed Italian tomatoes 2 Tbsp tomato concentrate (UK tomato purée) Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving Polenta or pasta to serve
1 Put porcini in a small bowl and pour over the hot water. Soak for 30 minutes. Lift porcini out of soaking water and transfer to a sieve. Rinse under running water, checking for any woody bits which should be trimmed off or discarded. Chop roughly Strain soaking water twice through a small strainer lined with a coffee filter, or paper towels or clean muslin, and set liquid aside.
2 Put olive oil, onion and garlic in a saucepan and cook gently for 7–10 minutes until onion is lightly golden. Increase heat and add beef. Break up with a large fork, and when no longer pink, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the wine. Let wine evaporate, cooking gently for 5 minutes.
3 Add porcini and ½ cup strained porcini liquor. Add tomatoes, tomato concentrate and black pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle boil, partially cover with a lid and cook gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thick and sauce-like.
4 Spoon over steaming bowls of polenta, or Crispy Fried Polenta squares or pappardelle noodles.