Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pasta Sauce Revival

I seriously have BARELY cooked since I have been back in Alberta.
Who was I going to cook for? It was never worth making the mess just for me. Alas - I ate take out, salads, fruit, veggies, soup....
Cooking has always been something I love to do. A creative outlet. Especially cooking for people.
So now that I am seeing someone, I have started to dabble in the kitchen again.
I did 2 half assed slow cooker meals - a stew and a meatloaf - for him, as well as my rouladen. That's the one with the beef, Dijon, onions, bacon - wrapped around a dill pickle, simmered in wine. Then I make a gravy and serve it with mashed potatoes. Garlic, butter, sour cream and some of the left over bacon. It is good. I will make a post about it next time I make it.
Pasta sauce has always been one of my favorites to make. You can take it anywhere. The pot and the tomato sauce are like a blank canvas just dying to be turned into something amazing.
This sauce I made last night was a good one to get me back in the game.
This one was made by pan frying to the point of ALMOST done, one pound each of ground beef and ground pork with some oregano.
I set that pan off to the side and in my most favorite pot EVER(the one my mom always used and said I could have when she was dead... so unfortunately I know have the pot), I started to saut√© minced garlic and thinly sliced shallots in some olive oil. Once they started to soften up, I added chopped celery - about 7 ribs and one zucchini. I like the rustic feel to the sauce, so I tend to chop my veggies into larger pieces.
I then added in 4 diced roma tomatoes and the juice of half of a lemon, and a LOT of thick sliced mushrooms. Probably over a pound, white and crimini both.
Once I started to see a bit of browning on the bottom of the pot, I deglazed it with some red wine. I also added some of the juices that had cooked out the meat. Then I added my spices. Oregano, basil, a little thyme, some rosemary that I ground up with my mortar & pestle, smoked paprika, peppercorns - the colorful ones - that I cracked up myself, sea salt, parsley... and I think that was it.   
I let that cook down a bit and then I added a large can of tomato sauce, a drained can of diced tomatoes, some balsamic vinegar and then I let it simmer for a bit. I dumped the meat in and let it simmer down a lot, adding a few more spices to taste as I went along, as well as a bit of corn starch to thicken it up.
THEN... garlic bread.
I minced up garlic - put parsley, basil, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. Spread that on the French bread that I cut in half, Then I topped it with grated marble and parmesan cheese and tossed it under the broiler.
The sauce finished up. I served it over rotini, topped with grated parmesan... and it was fantastic!
And there was a ton of it so I have left overs galore! It is even better the next day. :) 

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