Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Post-Run Pasta!

Thought I'd post a recipe I made tonight- simple, from scratch spag sauce! This version has a little bacon and ground turkey, mushrooms and some herbes provencal I picked up in Provence this spring. (Don't I sound snooty!)
Pasta sauce was probably the first thing I learned how to make (thanks dad!), first by just browning some ground beef, and adding a jar of sauce and maybe a few extra dried herbs, but growing up, we added a lot of extras. Pretty soon, it's just as simple to skip the pre-packaged sauce (who knows what's in that stuff!) and make it from scratch. So here it is. Modify to your liking.

3 strips bacon, diced (or about 1 good glug of olive oil)
1 onion, diced
3-6 cloves of garlic, crushed (there's no such thing as too much garlic!)
1 lb of ground turkey
2 glugs of red wine (1/2 cup?) I used my homemade Valpolicella
2 cans mushrooms (or fresh is good too better, cans were on sale this week!)
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
Fresh ground pepper and salt
About 1-2 Tbsp dried herbs of your choice (not THAT kind, although that would ensure all the pasta gets eaten, even if it would taste a little off...) I like my herbes provencal, or italian seasoning (be careful though, some mixes have salt), or basil, thyme and oregano.

mmm... look at that yummy stuff on the bottom of the pan!
In a large pot, brown bacon on medium heat. Once some of the fat starts to render out, add the onion. Stir occasionally. If you're adding any other fresh veggies (carrots, celery peppers), add them at the same time as the onion. Crush the garlic into the pot once the onions start looking a bit clear. (Garlic burns if you put it in too soon!). Add your ground turkey, stir every so often to break it up as it cooks. I like to add the pepper and half the herbs at this point.

Ground turkey- this stuff was labeled ground dark meat

You can add the garlic after the meat if you forget!

Despite the fact that I use oil/fat, that's more for flavor, and the fact that it's good for you in small quantities. I expect that my onions are going to leave some brown stuff on the bottom of the pot. The meat should too. Why? Flavor, baby. Plus, it's a good excuse to use wine, which adds its own unique magic richness to the sauce. It's called deglazing- toss a glug or two of wine into a pot once the meat is cooked, and scrape all those lovely bits of flavor off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. (My wooden spoon is special. I bought it in the open-air market in Arles, France this spring. The same place I got my herbes provencal. It brings back good memories. But you can use any kitchen-appropriate utensil you like.)

The final product - season to taste!
Back to the pot. Once the alcohol in the wine has bubbled  away (pretty much immediately), it's time to add the canned mushrooms, and the canned tomatoes. Stir, and turn the heat all the way down. Let it simmer for at least 20 minutes, but the longer you can simmer it for, the better. Stir a few times ala Goodfellas, so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Just before it's ready to serve, taste it. Does it need any salt? More herbs? Add a little at a time, stir, taste. This is why it's important to have a good wooden spoon.

Serve with your favorite pasta! We had spagetti tonight after our 4k tempo run. Despite another wrong turn, I managed to average a 4:47-- that's minutes/km... (that would be pretty fast for miles!!)