Meat Sauce

As I’ve mentioned many times, we are a family of pasta eaters.  More often than not, we end up making some whole wheat pasta mixed with frozen veggies, tomato sauce from a jar, and maybe broiled chicken breasts when I remember to take some out of the freezer.  But when I have a little more time to plan, I really enjoy making a more interesting sauce or topping, like pesto or meatballs with home made sauce (check out the pasta section of my recipe index for more ideas!).

I am also a huge fan of meat sauce.  In college I used to brown a pound of meat and simmer for a few minutes with a jar of sauce, but I thought I should be able to do better than that now.  For some reason, though, I have been struggling to get the consistency and flavors right.  I tried looking up recipes, but most of the ones I found with good ratings also required tons of steps (e.g., first simmer with milk, then wine, then tomatoes, etc) and ingredients (e.g., multiple kinds of meat).  I just wanted a basic sauce I could throw together without too much fanfare!  And then I remembered my Classic Lasagna, which has a delicious, easy meat sauce as part of the filling.  With some very slight modifications, I finally found my recipe!  I made it a little less thick by cutting back on the amount of meat, added carrots for additional veggie power and sweetness, and replaced the fresh basil with dried so that it was easier to always have the ingredients on hand.  The result is is simple, adaptable, and delicious.  I hope you enjoy as much as we do!

 

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Meat Sauce
adapted from me!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 cup carrots
2 garlic cloves
1 pound lean ground beef
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet.  Chop the onion, carrots, and garlic by hand or in the food processor.  Add the veggies to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes over medium-low heat, until onions are translucent.  Add the beef, breaking it up as it cooks, until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, salt, and pepper.  Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.  Serve over your favorite whole wheat pasta.

Serves 4-6

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