Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tomato meat sauce recipe

I do believe I promised to write up the meat sauce recipe I invented awhile back when I was making that anniversary lasagna. I made it again since then for some pasta and received all sorts of compliments for it. So I think it really is about time I shared it.

Though, I must warn you, this is not a harvest tomatoes from your garden and cook them down into a rich, amazingly fresh, delicious tomato sauce. I used canned tomato sauce here, because one, tomatoes are not in season, and two if I did grow tomatoes, I probably wouldn't have near enough to make a sauce from scratch like that. Also, canned tomatoes generally taste better than fresh grocery store tomatoes because the ones they can are the ones that got left on the vine until they were ripe, rather than the ones picked green so they would be mostly ripe by the time they got to their distant destination. And they're a lot cheaper. So, if you're the type who is satisfied to simply open a can of your basic tomato sauce and throw it on your pasta and you were looking for something complicated and made from actual fresh tomatoes then this recipe will probably irritate you. If, however, you're the type to use generic spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce and you want to spruce it up to make it more delicious and healthy, then this recipe is amazing.

And once again, it really isn't so much a recipe as it a guideline for making it. I'll list some basic proportions but it's largely up to you how you season and and fill it.
Also, it turns out, I did not have as many photos of the actual sauce as I thought I did. I have this one of the meat, mushrooms and onions cooking and then one more, of the pan of sauce along with all my lasagna ingredients. Still, the actual recipe is the important part, right? Here you go.

Tomato Meat Sauce
about 1/2 lb of ground turkey (or other ground meat of choice)
olive oil (I used my rosemary infused oil)
sea salt (or regular salt, if you want)
1 large onion, chopped
five or six mushrooms, coarsely chopped (I used a combo of portabella and white button)
1 green bell pepper, chopped (You can also use other vegetables if you so desire)
Dried sage, rosemary, basil, thyme, a little of each
cayenne pepper (to taste, of course)
5 to 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
a splash or 1/4 cup of red cooking wine (I use dry sherry)
a splash of balsamic vinegar
two 16 oz cans of tomato sauce
one can of tomato paste

Heat your pan over medium heat (I use my cast iron pan, because it imparts amazing flavour as well as vast quantities of iron to your food) Add about a tablespoon of olive oil or just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Dump your ground meat in and break apart and stir as it cooks. When meat has lost most of it's redness add onions, mushrooms and peppers along with salt. (If you're using ground beef, you may want to drain some fat before continuing, though) Throw in your seasons and allow onions to soften and mushrooms to get slightly cooked before adding garlic. Almost immediately after adding garlic, add the wine and vinegar. Stir for a bit over medium high heat, allowing the the wine and vinegar to sizzle and mushrooms to marinate. Once meat looks fully cooked and onions translucent and peppers have lost all rawness, add your tomato sauce and paste. Stir until well blended, add a little water if necessary, taste to see if it needs more salt or other seasonings, and then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes with a lid on, stirring it now and then. Or, if you want it thicker, allow it to simmer with the lid off, but be sure to stir it frequently.

Now you can use it to top your pasta, fill your lasagna, sauce your pizza or dunk bread into it.
lasagna time.
I hope you find it useful!

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