Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Pasta in a Meaty Mushroom Sauce w/ Spinach

I love a great pasta dish.  I think it's a nice homey comfort food that can be both simple and gourmet & always deliciously satisfying.  There are a seemingly endless list of possibilities for sauces and ingredients to make up a pasta dish, it's this versatility that makes it one of my favorites.

In the event that a meaty mushroom sauce is what I crave to cling to my pasta for the evening, it doesn't mean we can't still throw in something fresh to brighten things up a bit : ) 

Saute sliced mushrooms in preheated extra virgin olive oil until the moisture from the mushrooms has come out and it begins to evaporate.  I like the mushrooms soft, yet not browned.  Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper while cooking.

Heat a pot of salted water to boil your pasta in while the mushrooms cook.

Remove mushrooms from pan & set aside.

Brown 1/2lb of ground beef in the same pan until cooked through but not browned till crisp.  Drain well to remove any fats and add mushrooms back to pan.

While the beef is cooking, you can boil your pasta until al dente, then drain and set aside.

Add either your homemade sauce you made that day, your favorite sauce from a jar or in this case...I used a frozen sauce I had made previously and had stored for later use : )  Mix the sauce, beef and mushrooms and let heat through.

Add cooked pasta directly to the pan and mix with your sauce.

Throw in a bit of fresh spinach to brighten things up a bit, it wilts pretty well, so I added enough to just mix in enough to give every few spoonfuls a little color.

Spinach cooks and wilts quickly and since I didn't want to lose too much of it's form, I barely let it cook in the pan before serving the pasta on plates.  It added a wonderful texture, a really pretty visual to the plate and tasted great too : )

Tomato Sauce

4 small cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
5 Shakes from the basil jar (dried)
5 Shakes from the oregano jar (dried)
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 tomatoes chopped into small pieces
1 small can tomato paste, I use the whole can...
 1 teaspoon of white sugar

     I saute the onion in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pad of butter with the seasoning's.  When they are soft and only slightly browning, I add the garlic and pull the pot off of the stove so I can mix it all together.  It helps the garlic from burning if it is not over the direct heat.  I add my tomato paste, stir....over the heat for about a minute and add my tomatoes. 

     You can always add a liquid to the sauce as well, some use water, some use tomato juice, and some even use tomato soup...I will leave this one up to you.  Personally, I choose between an actual can of tomato sauce, tomato juice if I have it or water, for me it's whatever is on hand.

     Tomatoes are acidic, so this is when I toss in my sugar, it helps to sweeten things up a bit and creates a nice balance.  Simmering this sauce for anywhere between 45 minutes and a hour and it's done, it reduces down a bit, the flavors meld together and is delicious.
Till next time : ) Happy Cookin'

As a really exciting side note for today's post, I have been selected as one of the very lucky cook's/bloggers to participate in an awesome contest hosted by and O Olive Oil!  It's the
Rites of Spring Cooking Contest

Stay tuned for the upcoming inspired recipe I create with this awesome looking product (I haven't tried it YET) and my first thoughts on tasting it too (good or bad)  ; )

I would really appreciate any and all of your support, so to do this...VISIT & LIKE these Facebook pages and let them know Jenn @ I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen sent you : )  Thanks!

O Olive Oil    &   eRecipeCards

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