The good thing about being winter causing you to be cooped up in your home for 4 days is that you’re constantly eating at home, which is a good thing. In a normal week, we go out to eat at least 2 or 3 times, partially because my schedule is so harried. In addition to teaching full time, I also have a part-time job (that Master’s degree isn’t going to pay for itself) and work in time to get in about 30 minutes to an hour of activity each day. As I am the chief cook in the house and do the majority of the cooking, some days there simply isn’t time or inclination to do it.
This week has been the exception rather than the rule, and so I’ve cooked every single day. Last night, I cooked up a pot of pasta sauce that we froze a good chunk of, which we will probably eat next week once things return to their normal, crazy busy state.
Now, I am a meat eater. Always have been, and always will be. I crave protein, and prefer it to carbohydrate. Funny how that works out, being diabetic and all. So when I make pasta sauce, it always has a meat base. This sauce uses ground sirloin (quite lean) and ground pork (also pretty lean) rather than my standby hot Italian sausage (which I had none of). With the addition of herbs and spices, though, it tasted as though I’d made it with my usual sausage suspect. It’s a thick, meaty sauce that’s good over any type of pasta, and could be used in a lasagna, if one were inclined to make it.
Today I served it up over some farfalle, with a bit of shredded mozzarella. It was even better today! Here is how I did it. You will need:
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 28 ounce can tomato puree (I used Muir Glen)
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes (we like ours with a bit of bite; reduce this if you like)
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
In a large Dutch oven, brown both the sirloin and pork, breaking them up as the meat cooks. You want the meat to be crumbly. Add in a tablespoon of the pepper flakes. Once the meat has cooked, drain off the excess fat and pour in the tomato puree, water and tomato paste. Add the remaining spices and stir completely to combine. Cook over medium heat until the sauce bubbles, and then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes.
Serve over hot pasta, polenta or whatever you like. This recipe made about 10 cups of sauce.
NOTE: If I had had bell peppers, I would have added them to the sauce to up the veggie factor. Also, onions would be superb in this recipe, and if I could add a diced onion, I would have done that.