Monday, October 18, 2010

Simple Spaghetti

I don't mean to sound like a snob but I cannot stand jarred spaghetti sauce. They all taste the same to me and the flavor is typically bleh. Besides, why buy sauce in a jar when you can whip up your own easily, quickly, and cheaply? Trust me, the little extra effort results in major taste difference - the homemade sauce is so much more flavorful and delicious and definitely worth the making.

*Note: the portions of things here in terms of canned goods in Canada are a little different than the typical measurements in the States so some of these things might be estimated in terms of cups

- 1 package of pasta of your choice (we used whole-wheat spaghetti)
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pound ground meat of your choice (we used extra-lean beef)
- about 4 to 5 cups of canned tomato sauce (about 2 cans of 15 ozs?)
- 1 tiny can of tomato paste (I think it's 6 ozs in the States?)
- Fresh basil, chopped (about 6 large leaves)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- Chili flakes (optional, if you like a bit of kick in your sauce)
- Grated parmesan cheese (for topping)

Boil the water in a big pot for the pasta first. While the water heats up, begin making your sauce (when you notice the water coming to a full boil, throw in the pasta). Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, then add garlic and saute for another minute. Add meat and cook till no longer pink, season with some salt and pepper. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and basil (and chili flakes if you're using) and season by taste with some more salt and pepper and let simmer for about 15 minutes. During this time, your pasta should be done or close to it by now, so check to make sure it's al dente, which literally means "to the tooth." So what you'd be looking for in testing for the pasta's readiness is a little firmness in the middle when you bite down on it; in other words, it shouldn't be mushy, that means you've overcooked it. Once the pasta is finished cooking, strain the liquid and pour pasta back into the big pot and pour the simmered sauce over and toss together. Serves 6 to 8 people.


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