Chop the onion and add to the oil in a large pan. Clean the mushrooms and add whole. Cut the courgette into slices and then quarters and add to the mix along with the crushed garlic.
Cook gently until the onions are soft or just before the mushrooms start to leak water. Don't overcook the courgette so it remains fairly crunchy throughout.
Add the mince and cook very gently for a further 5 minutes. If using meat - brown for 5 minutes separately before adding to the pan.
Add the passata and the tomato soup along with the stock. Rinse the cartons with cold water and add to the pan to cover the food. Add the herbs, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Take extra care not to add too much of the vinegar.
Cook thoroughly on a medium heat until somewhat reduced. About 20 minutes.
Add the tomato puree and stir in well. Cook for a further 10 minutes or until the sauce is as thick as desired. If you used meat be sure that it is cooked thoroughly before eating.
Standing the sauce for a short time will allow the flavours to diffuse.
Serve with tagliatelle or your desired pasta or hot buttered ciabatta bread. Top with grated Parmesan cheese or a vegetarian alternative.
Modifications & further use:
Add a dash of red wine along with, or instead of, the balsamic vinegar.
A small handful of fresh oregano can be used instead of dried.
The sauce is perfect for use in a lasagne - adjust the consistency as required.
The history of Italian cuisine is characterised by regional recipes, which undergo proliferation and modification.
Italian food is meant to be simple. The use of fresh, healthy ingredients is far more important than any sort of fancy preparation. An Italian meal is easy to prepare, inexpensive, nutritious and, despite this effort, does not usually feature too many ingredients.
We love the economy and modesty of Italian food and we'll be bringing you many more delicious recipes in the future.