Though in the middle of August when you're elbow deep in garden produce you may disagree with me, I could easily argue that preserving food is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have. Getting to open up the pantry to jars of canned pears, peaches, pickles, salsa, preserves, and produce is an amazingly wonderful feeling.
We've slowly been munching away on our goodies all winter long and though we still have a long way to go in our preserving journey, I'm still pleased that we're able to use up what we grew ourselves. Booya, baby.
And speaking of preserved foods, the other day, when I opened the chest freezer, there they were. Staring at me. All bright eyed and bushy tailed – well, in the sense that a frozen tomato can be bright eyed. They still had their beautiful summer, ruby shade and held true to their orb shape – though slightly frosty. Either way, this was supper.
I quickly grabbed a few pounds of grass fed ground beef and headed towards the kitchen.
(It doesn't get any better than shopping in your own freezer).
And thus was born of the garden and the pasture the most beautiful spaghetti. All from within a mile of our home.
Which makes it taste even better. (And that's a fact).
The Perfect Spaghetti Sauce
You will need:
– 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (or lamb, or venison, or whatev)
– 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
– 1 shallot, minced
– 6 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon organic, dried oregano
– 1/2 teaspoon organic, dried rosemary
– 2 bay leaves
– 4 pounds fresh or frozen tomatoes (or about 40 ounces organic tomato sauce)
– 2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
– 5 tablespoons rapadura or 3 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste)
– Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Step One: Brown the meat in a large Dutch oven. Remove to a plate and set aside. Hello, meat:
Step Two: Into the same dutch oven, add the tablespoons of olive oil and the minced shallot and garlic.
I minced mine in my Vitamix. Vitamix, my love for you knows no bounds.
Step Three: Saute the shallot and garlic until soft and fragrant (about five minutes). Then, add in the oregano (hello, freaky hand):
Rosemary (hello again, freaky hand):
And bay leaves (still there, I see, hand):
Step Four: Puree the fresh or frozen tomatoes until smooth. Again, totally used the Vitamix for this. Another option would be to blanch, peel, and then add the tomatoes in whole (thus preventing the tomato-skin from rolling up). Either way. I just like a smoother sauce, but whatever floats your boat.
Step Five: Lastly, add in the tomato paste, salt and pepper, and rapadura or maple syrup to taste. It's important that all of these ingredients be added to taste so take the time to taste your sauce and season accordingly. You may like a sweeter sauce. Or a more tart sauce. Or a more peppery sauce. It's your sauce – make it taste like it!
Step Six: Allow the sauce to simmer for 2-3 hours – this will give water in the tomatoes time to evaporate and condense the flavor into a sort of heavenly, rich sauce. If using canned tomatoes, this step isn't necessary, but it does allow time for the flavors to mingle. Sometimes, I'll make this sauce in the morning and allow it to simmer all day. I like to smell it. It smells like opportunity. And accomplishment.
Step Seven: Once the sauce has had time to simmer and is seasoned to your liking, cook up some spaghetti noodles al dente. We make our pasta homemade – which takes just as much time as waiting for boxed pasta to cook. A few cups of flour and a couple of eggs from our hens is all it takes – that and a teeny bit of elbow grease.
Step Eight: Serve a portion of cooked spaghetti noodles with a generous portion of the sauce. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
I desired. Of course.
I don't know what it is about pasta. But I love it.
I think it's the carbs.
Ya. That's probably it.
Regardless – the sauce is delicious and even if pasta ain't your thing, I'm sure it'd be delicious atop rice, quinoa, or even a vegetable pilaf.
Oohhh. That just gave me an idea…
Happy spaghetti eating!
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.