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Friday, October 30th, 2009

Time Event
Pasta with meat sauce (recipe)
Tonight's dinner was a very simple pasta with sauce thrown together around some ground beef from the freezer, but it seems to have come out really quite well (suzanne made comments about "best she'd had in a very long time"), so I decided to record the recipe. (Well, as best I can estimate it from what I remember when cooking it; nothing here was actually measured.)

1 lb ground beef (80% lean)
3 T olive oil
ground pepper
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 t whole fennel seed
1/2 t ground cumin seed
1/2 24-oz jar Classico "sun-dried tomato" pasta sauce
12-oz can plain tomato sauce
1/4 cup merlot
2 t cocoa powder

Heat olive oil in bottom of large saucepan. Add ground beef, red pepper, and pepper and salt as appropriate. Stir, break beef apart. Once beef has separated and begins to cook, add onion, fennel seed, and cumin seed. Cook until browned. Add tomato sauces, wine, and cocoa powder, and simmer about 10 minutes. Serve over thin whole-wheat spaghetti, with a salad. Makes about 4 large servings.

I'm guessing that the combination of fennel, cumin, cocoa, and red wine was probably the critical part of the recipe flavor here. I usually put fennel in just about any pasta sauce I make (particularly the meat-based ones), but the cumin is a rarity, as is the wine because I usually don't think of it, and the cocoa powder was a completely new experiment.

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