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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Simple Meat Sauce: Recipe

Pasta seems to be the one item that continues to make multiple appearances in my cooking repertoire. It's impossible for me to ignore my love for it - and I do try. But I figure if I love it so much there must be a good reason and it can't be that bad for you. Surely I can think of much worse things to eat than pasta (like the fast food chains I stopped in for breakfast and then again for lunch on my way home from a long, long, car trip! Now THAT is bad!).

Now what was I saying? Oh yes, pasta. Ahh...the oodles of shapes, the dough, the texture...and of course, as I've said many times before...the sauce! Again, focusing on healthy foods, I pulled out the carrots, celery, and such to ensure a delicious but quick take on the never-duplicated-but-slow-slow-slow-cooked Bolognese Sauce. Mine didn't take all day but the flavors were awesome!

Simple Meat Sauce
2 Tbsp. good olive oil
2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup assorted fresh herbs, finely chopped, such as: basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley and thyme
2 dried Turkish Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
few grindings of pepper
1 1/4 lbs. ground round (90%)
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes from San Marzano region
1/3 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano

In a heavy large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add in onion and saute over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes or until soft. Add in garlic and saute another minute, stirring often. Do not burn these. Add in the carrots and celery and saute about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. Next add in the fresh and dried herbs and spices and the bay leaves. Mix well.

Next add in the ground beef and stir often until it is no longer red/pink and falls into small crumbs - about 6-8 minutes over medium-high heat. Pour in the tomatoes and allow it to simmer on low, low heat for about 35 minutes - stir often and do not allow it to bubble/boil. Add in wine and mix well and allow it to simmer another 10 minutes. Take the sauce off the heat and add in the cheese.

Serve over heavy pasta like Rigatoni.

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