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.

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