Saturday, October 29, 2022

simple meat sauce for pasta dishes

Another simple recipe posted for the sake of my children: a basic pasta sauce with ground meat(or meatballs or sausage) or without if you just want the sauce.

Basic ingredients:

~ ground beef, turkey or pork (or meatballs, fresh or frozen), start with a portion the size of two of your fists for a regular size batch of sauce, enough for our family or for making a lasagna. Add another fist size or two if making a large batch of sauce. If adding in sausage, add in however many you want. You can cook the sausage in the casing and keep its shape, or split open the casing and cook the sausage as ground sausage.

~ garlic cloves (2-4 for most portions you may be dealing with, more if making a big batch of sauce. If you don't have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder: 2 tablespoons should be plenty. Just peel the clove and push it through a garlic press or chop it very finely with a knife.)

~1 large can of diced tomato, can be plain or with seasonings

~ 1-3 cans or jars of sauce (this is where you decide how thick or thin you want the sauce to be, also you can use plain tomato sauce, just add some dried italian seasoning if you have it)

Optional ingredients but ones I always use:

~ parmesan cheese (I don't measure, but I sprinkle very generously)

~ sugar (I use cane sugar, but you can use white sugar, 1 tablespoon should be plenty. I find most tomato sauces too acidic for my palate, so I add sugar to sweeten it just like my mom did.)

1. Put the portion of meat you are using in a large skillet (or dutch oven soup pot) and brown evenly over medium heat, breaking the granules of the meat into small pieces as much as you want. Some cooks like hearty portions of meat in their sauce, others like finer pieces and break up the meat accordingly.
2. Once the meat has been thoroughly cooked, drain off any liquid in whatever manner you prefer. I typically use a couple of pieces of paper towel to soak up the liquid in the skillet, but I've also poured off the liquid, refrigerated(or frozen) it and then used it to start a soup or gravy another time. (See my soup post if you're curious.)
3. Turn the heat down to low, add in the fresh-pressed garlic cloves (or powdered garlic) and sauté the garlic until it turns clear. 
4. Add in can of tomatoes, and cans or jars of sauce. Stir until well mixed.
5. Sprinkle in parmesan cheese and sugar if using. Stir again.
6. Simmer on low until ready to use or store in fridge or freezer until needed.

* Apparently I've been planning this post for a long time; these photos are from the Richmond house. 
Also if you buy sauce or canned tomato when it's on sale, mark the month and even year on the cans with a sharpie to help you use it in order. Here are two different times I stocked up on sauce and marked it accordingly. And this photo is from the Almonte house.

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