Monday, September 5, 2011

Bolognese-style pasta sauce - with lots of hints

I don't think I've posted this before, but it's pretty easy. Heck, most of you probably have your own pasta sauce recipes anyway. Here's mine. I used to have this with spaghetti squash. Then I discovered shirataki noodles.

  • One pound ground beef (or mix equal parts beef and pork, or use other meats)
  • One (or two) medium cooking onion, diced
  • Olive oil or other fat suitable for cooking, 3-4 Tbsp (lard works well!)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 3, if small), peeled and chopped
  • One can (680mL) tomato sauce (Hint - "pasta sauce" often has sugar added, "tomato sauce" usually doesn't)
  • One can (769mL) diced tomatoes
  • One green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2-3 tsp oregano (fresh is better, but dried is fine - see below)
  • 2-3 tsp basil (ditto)
  • 1-2 tsp thyme (and again, ditto)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the beef and onion in the fat over medium heat until the beef is browned and the onion is waxy-looking. (I have no idea why they say the onion should be "clear" - I've never seen a clear onion, and I'd be kind of freaked if I did. Invisible onions?!?)
  2. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for about a minute.
  3. Add pretty much everything else (Hint - if you're using fresh herbs, add towards the end of cooking; if using dried, add near the start).
  4. Simmer over low heat for a couple of hours until thickened somewhat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Adjust seasoning to taste. (Hint - only add salt at the end of the cooking process - otherwise the salt taste tends to 'vanish' and you end up adding more anyway.)
  6. Serve over shirataki noodles, or spaghetti squash if you can't find the noodles. Or just eat a big bowl on its own.
Note - there's some controversy right now about using canned tomatoes and tomato sauce - there's a possibility that the acidity of the tomatoes could cause certain unpleasant chemicals to leach out of the lining of the can into the food. However, I don't see jars of tomato products in my local mega-lo-mart (with apologies to Alton Brown), so I'm stuck with cans. This time of year, you can probably get bushels of fresh tomatoes cheaply and make this sauce up totally from scratch, but come January, the only tomatoes I'm going to see are hard, pale pink, and almost as well-traveled as I am. Hence, this recipe calls for canned ones.

At last - Fathead, reviewed

I should have posted this a while ago. Actually, I should have posted several things a while ago. I'll hand-wave at the usual excuse, "I've been busy", and promise to do better in the future.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, Fathead is now available in Canada via the Amazon and Indigo websites. For those who don't know, it's sort of a 'response' to the movie Supersize Me. In a way, it's really two movies in one - there's his own video diary of a 30-day junk-food feast (with a caveat - see below), and an examination of where nutritional science seems to have gotten off the rails since WWII. The latter won't contain much new for anyone who's already read Good Calories, Bad Calories, but it's in a video format with amusing animations.

The video diary part is interesting - as I mentioned, he (like Morgan Spurlock in Supersize Me) eats basically nothing but junk food for thirty days. The caveat there is that he limits his carbohydrate intake to approximately 100 grams a day. The results are rather embarrassing to established "conventional wisdom" - not only does he lose weight during his thirty-day experiment, but he also cuts his cholesterol.

I think I've pointed it out before, but Tom Naughton (the Fathead film maker, in that he made the film Fathead, I'm not calling him a Fathead) has his own blog that's worth checking out. You can even check out some clips from the movie here, and he's got his own Youtube channel here, at which he posts some additional stuff, including a talk he gave on the 4th Annual Low-Carb Cruise called "Science For Smart People".

Overall, I'd say buy this film and "accidentally" slip it into a friend's video collection - heck, if I had the money I'd be donating copies to the local library. Maybe even see if your local video store will order in a copy or two? (If they're a chain they probably can't do that because they need to order from the corporate catalogue, I think.) More people need to hear his message.