Pork & Tomato Ragu with Penne

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It has taken me years to perfect this recipe. “And you are Italian!” I hear you say. It is easy to make a straight forward bolognese, as the beef and the tomatoes do all the work. But when you substitute the beef for bland pork and add vegetables, you completely change taste and texture. I do this dish for the family, as it is a way of adding vegetables to their diet. Follow the recipe to the letter and I assure you that you will create a fabulous meal.

PORK is a high-quality protein which is the main nutritional component of pork, making it useful for muscle growth and maintenance. It is relatively lower in fat than beef (but check with the label). It is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and iron.

GARLIC is excellent at removing toxic micro-organisms from the intestines. It is effective against a range of microbes and viruses, bacteria and parasites. It is a major source of allylic sulphides, which are antioxidants that destroy free radicals.

Serves 4
1 tbsp virgin olive oil * 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped * 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped * 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced * 1 celery stick, finely chopped * 1 orange pepper, finely chopped * 1 courgette, finely chopped *455g (1lb) extra lean minced pork * 1 tsp dried basil * 1 tsp dried mixed herbs * 115g (4oz) cherry tomatoes, halved * 395g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes * 395g (14oz) passata * 90ml (3 floz) chicken stock * 1 dried bay leaf * 3 tbsp finely chopped basil * 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley * salt & freshly ground black pepper * 395g (14oz) dried penne * fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Warm the olive oil in a frying-pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic cloves and red chilli and fry very lightly for 1 minute. Then add the celery, pepper and courgette and turn up the heat. Stir-fry the vegetables until they are soft and tender. Add the pork mince and sprinkle over the dried herbs, ensuring the herbs cook into the meat for flavour. Cook through for 4 minutes until meat is cooked. Follow with the cherry tomatoes, canned tomatoes, passata and chicken stock, bringing the sauce to a boil. Add the bay leaf and chopped basil and parsley, then season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Take out the bay leaf before serving.

Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large saucepan of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the saucepan. Add half the sauce to the pasta and mix well. Divide into serving dishes and add the remaining sauce to the top of the pasta. Garnish with basil leaves.

Pork & Tomato Ragu with Penne

My SUCCESSFUL LIFE BALANCE book contains practical advice to lead a balanced and healthy life – for mind, body and soul.

I have included very simple family recipes, which will provide you with nutritious food.

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