Dice celery and carrots. Heat ~2 tbsps of olive oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Add celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper, lightly fry, turn down heat to medium, and let cook covered for 10 - 15 minutes.
Dice onion and garlic. Add to carrots and celery and mix everything together. Season with salt and pepper. Cook covered for an additional 10 - 15 minutes (until onions are soft).
Move around the vegetable mixture so that there is a gap in the center of the pan and turn up the heat to full. Add ground beef and brown it in direct contact with the pan. Add salt. As it browns, mix the beef with the vegetables.
Mix in a bit of tomato paste and a cup of wine. Mix everything together and let the wine cook off.
Add the can of tomatoes and a bit of water (1/2 can). Bring to rolling boil. Add a generous sprinkling of thyme, the beef stock, and 2 bay leaves. Turn down heat to a rolling simmer and cover.
Leave mixture to simmer for 45 - 90 minutes. Check regularly to add water and stir. There should always be some water to boil off until you are ready to serve.
Serve with side of pasta. Chunky pastas that hold the sauce are recommended! Cook pasta al dente for best results.
Amount of each ingredient can easily be varied to taste. Michael adds more salt and pepper than I do. Sometimes we add more meat. Sometimes we add more vegetables.
We've had 3 different stoves and each had its own personality. In Hamburg, we consistently needed to turn the heat to high. In San Francisco, medium-high is the equivalent. Similarly, water burns off much quicker on our San Francisco stove so we use more. Vary the recipe based on what you think is best.
If we are really hungry, we will only let it simmer for 45 minutes, but it definitely pays off to cook for the full 90 minutes!
Have fun with the pastas! There are so many awesome pastas available. Just don't do spaghetti or linguini.
Grease/spray pie dish and add berries. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
In a bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, rolled oats, and butter with a fork.
Sprinkle oat/flour mixture over berries.
Bake 30 minutes (or 45 minutes) at 375 degrees F.