My family & sauces:
Although my mom generally made the bolognese, my dad is the sauce maker in the family. He loves taking time and using Dahlicious fresh ingredients to create sauces with really deep flavors. For example, after discovering the greatest pesto in the world in a small shop on a hill in the town of Porto Venere on the west coast of Italy just an hours drive from Pisa, it has been his mission to recreate that garlicy basily gift from the Italian Gods. He has used every type of olive oil and parmesan imaginable and each time he makes it I hear about how amazing it was and how I should move home to be able to experience it more often (I wish!!). Anyways, sauces will be saved for another post (or two) but that is just to give you an idea about how much my family loves homemade sauces. I will say as a disclaimer, we make them simply. They aren't always started with the classic Mirepoix (celery, carrots, onions) but they do include many of the basics. This particular sauce is great because it is incredibly simple and extremely hearty.
What you need:
- 1 large yellow onion
- A few cloves of garlic
- 1 pound ground turkey (or go right for the ground beef if you're in that mood!)
- 28oz can of crushed tomatoes (get San Marzano tomatoes if you can, they are the BEST canned tomatoes.. more expensive but you can absolutely taste the difference. Also, feel free to use diced tomatoes if you have them or even whole peeled stewed tomatoes and give them a rough chop yourself)
- Red wine
- Tomato paste (optional)
- Salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, bay leaves (if you have thyme instead or you're missing one of the dried herbs no biggie)
What you do:
Give the onion a good chop, and throw it in a deep sauce pan with a liberal pour of olive oil on medium/high heat. Let the onions start to sweat and use a garlic press on 2-3 cloves, then add them to the onions along with a small palm full of the basil and oregano (as I've suggested before it's good to crush the herbs between your palms before tossing them in). Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the garlic/onion mix sauté for a few minutes until they are starting to look slightly golden. Add a bit more olive oil and mix in your ground turkey. Use a spatula to continually crush the turkey while it browns, mixing it with the onions and garlic. Once the turkey is cooked through add a spoonful of the tomato paste and a dash of the red wine (I would like to give you an exact amount but I'm more the type to give a little pour and eyeball it), so don't flood the pan but pour enough to get a bit of flavor in there. Give it a good stir and let it cook for a minute or so, then pour in the entire 28oz can of crushed tomatoes. Add another palmful of the dried crushed herbs and 2 bay leaves. Give it a good stir and turn it down to low heat, at a slight simmer. If you have the time let it sit for a couple of hours uncovered. If not, try to give it at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavors. This will give you plenty of time to prep and cook your pasta and veggies! Taste test every once in a while and add more seasoning or red wine to as desired.
|sauteed onions & garlic|
|ground turkey added|
|ground turkey browned|
|san marzano tomatos & herbs|
Spaghetti is the typical pasta you might serve with a meaty sauce like this, or perhaps a flatter noodle like a pappardelle. My mom used to actually use spaghetti squash growing up in place of real pasta to cut down on carbs. It's quite Dahlicious and adds a nice crunch. Tonight however I am doing a sort of half & half. I'll be cooking a smaller than usual quantity of whole wheat spaghetti and will be mixing in some quickly steamed shaved broccoli and carrots (I bought a bag of the shaved veggie mix at TJ's this week - I think it was intended for a broccoli cole slaw of sorts but I'm using the long skinny spaghetti shaped veggies as a substitute for their carbier counterpart).
Tonight's pasta will be served with simply sauteed asparagus and a butter lettuce salad with baby heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella... and perhaps a few pieces of fresh basil atop the entire meal!
|steamed shaved veggies & whole wheat pasta|
|finished product sans the side salad|
I hope that yall enjoy this post and that this may serve as inspiration to:
1) Look for san marzano's - I promise you won't be disappointed
2) Recreate classic dishes by substituting more healthful ingredients (ie ground turkey and shaved veggies)
3) Put some love into a homemade sauce even though it could easily be bought in a jar, because it wouldn't have the same effect on your family and friends and most importantly on your confidence as a cook!