Mondays are not fundays...can we just all agree on that? Today is the Monday following Spring Break which has made it even more of a challenge. We spent a week moving a a leisurely pace, caring less about bedtimes and schedules and more about fun. I liked it. The laid-back schedule fits me. I'm told I'd fit in well in Europe...anyone want to take me there? I'd like to go to Portugal or Italy or Greece or...well, I digress.
My point up there was that Monday nights are not usually the greatest cooking nights. We're tired and we're rushed and it's Monday for heaven's sake!!! So, tonight...comfort food in 20 minutes. It's spaghetti night in our household!
Here's the deal...I'm a spaghetti snob. My mom is a great cook and an Italian woman so I sort of have been spoiled when it comes to good tomato sauces in life. I remember as a kid harvesting tomatoes out of our massive vegetable garden and my mom stewing them to freeze them so she could use them for sauce throughout the year. Yum is really all I can say. As a result, I don't like jarred spaghetti sauces. They just don't taste that great to me. I'll occasionally use one and doctor the heck out of it with my spice cabinet, but it always leaves me wanting.
I have a great marinara recipe, Lindrusso's Magnificent Marinara - and I'll be sharing that soon when I make a huge batch - but it's a longer process than a Monday night allows. So, spaghetti in 20 minutes and not out of a Prego jar? Simple. Good. Healthy.
I start by browing ground beef. I use 91% lean grass-fed, antibiotic-free, hormone-free sirloin. We don't need extra hormones in this house, that's for sure! Plus, it tastes better.
Once it's browned, I drain it. Even though I use a leaner beef, I like to get the excess grease out where I can.
In the same pot I just browned the ground beef, I toss in diced onions, shortly followed by some chopped fresh tomatoes and garlic...you know the drill, cook until everthing is happy - maybe 5 minutes. By the way, you should start your pasta water at this point....it takes some time to get it to a good rolling boil.
I like to add my spices at this point. Y'all know I love Penzey's so it's no surprise that I use Penzey's Tuscan Sunset as my Italian seasoning of choice. It's salt free so you can salt to your taste instead of someone else's. =) I also add some crushed red pepper when the weeone's not looking...it's amazing how she only thinks foods are spicy if she SEES the spicy ingredients being added!
Next, 1 can of Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce (it's just pureed tomatoes really) and some tomato paste as well. Mix them up...
Then for that great depth of flavor that makes spaghetti sauce sing...add some red wine. I add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup. I use a reasonable table red - nothing fancy, but something I would drink.
You should have boiling water by now to add your pasta to and it just takes a few minutes to get that cooked through.
If you've got a weeone - spaghetti night MUST, I repeat MUST include garlic bread. We just use sandwich bread with butter and garlic powder and toss it under the broiler.
Voila! Dinner is served....in 20 minutes. Take THAT Rachel Ray! ;D