How I make pasta sauce lately

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dang, it's good. The essentials:

1 can tomatoes - whatever kind, stewed, diced, crushed, doesn't matter.
1 can tomato sauce

The optionals:
Ground turkey - I like to eat a few vegetarian meals a week (why do we think we have to have meat at every meal??), and this one is perfect. Tom still looks at me funny when I make something that doesn't have meat, though, so normally I do throw in half a lb or a lb of ground turkey. I like making a pizza with ground turkey, mushrooms, roasted garlic, and fresh tomatoes, so sometimes I have a half lb. already browned sitting around leftover from when I made that pizza, so in the pot it goes!

1 whole bell pepper, any color, diced up.

1 whole onion, diced

Carrots, diced or shredded. Prefer shredded, it's the same size as spaghetti noodles, so I think it looks cool.

Mushrooms - will normally only add mushrooms if I'm not using turkey.

Garlic - I love lots (3-4 cloves) of fresh garlic in this, had to use garlic powder last night and it wasn't the best. Oh well.

Whatever italian sounding herbs I have - last night was garlic salt, parsley, oregeno, and thyme. Salt and pepper, of course. It can handle a good bit of salt, so don't be shy. (Usually add these once all the veggies are in the skillet)

Zucchini - a whole, medium-large sized zucchini chopped up - I never leave out zucchini, but I could if I didn't have one handy.

Fresh tomato - if I have some tomatoes on their deathbeds, they get chopped and added as well. Could also use fresh tomato pureed and chopped in place of your canned tomatoes, if you have them sitting around.

Fresh spinach - don't add til you add the pasta to the sauce (I won't use frozen, but you can if you want. Not a fan of the frozen spinach, and Tom LOATHES it.)

Red wine - however much I have sitting around, if it's just a quarter cup, that's what goes in. If I have a whole cup, that goes in (yes, sometimes we do have leftover red wine. I know you're surprised) Makes a huge huge difference.

I like to brown the meat or mushrooms separately from everything else - the meat slows down the veggies, and the mushrooms put out too much water. I'll get some olive oil heating up in my big ol' skillet, and throw the veggies in as I chop them. Cook em til they're becoming pretty tender (the carrots take the longest, so add earliest, add garlic last so it doesn't burn), then pour your wine in, watch it steam up and cook it down a bit on a high. Add your meat and mushrooms here if you haven't already. I add the tomatoes and sauce to my veggies/meat when I add the pasta (a lb of whatever I have - whole wheat spaghetti or rotini are my favs) to the boiling water. Once the pasta is almost done, it gets drained (or use a big slotted spoon) and added to the sauce. Throw in your spinach here if you have some. Cook for a couple minutes making sure everything is mixed together well. Eat it. Put up the leftovers and eat them the next day. It's enough for two people to eat two very substantial meals.

It's one of my favorite ways to use up a bunch of veggies I have sitting around.


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