Friday, October 17, 2014

Whole Grain Penne with Meat Sauce

Growing up, pasta consisted of spaghetti and macaroni. The former came with a very sweet tomato based meat sauce and the latter was a "salad" drenched in mayonnaise. Those two still have a special place in my heart even after all these years, but like the rest of us, taste buds must also grow up.

When it comes to eating healthy, or at least trying to, we have this idea in our heads that the healthier version just doesn't measure up to the original's taste. The healthy version is basically stripped off of what made the original taste great in the first place. Unfortunately, this seems to be the truth in most cases. One of these days, we can give examples of such facts until we're all blue in the face, but today, lets talk about one example that goes against that train of thought. Whole grain pasta.

Hold the eye rolls, please. Get past the fact that whole grain noodles just aren't able to twirl around your fork like regular pasta does and you'll be on your way to a whole new world of tasty goodness.

Give me an hour and a half with 8 ingredients and if you aren't satisfied I will send you the full amount of what you spent on that box of whole grain Penne pasta. Kidding of course, but trust me. Don't be afraid of the hour and a half. You won't be slaving away in front of the stove.

Whole Grain Penne with Meat Sauce

Whole Grain Penne with Meat Sauce

1 12 ounce box of Whole Grain Penne pasta
1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 large yellow onion small diced
1/2 head of garlic minced
4 Roma tomatoes rough chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp thin sliced fresh basil (optional)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cups of water

Brown the meat then drain excess oil.

Add the onions and garlic and saute for a minute or so until fragrant.

Add tomatoes and dried oregano and continue to saute for another two minutes or until the tomatoes begin to break apart.

Add half the amount of water and turn the fire down to a simmer.

Add sugar if desired to cut in to the tomatoes a bit. again, this is optional

Let the liquid reduce all the way down while occasionally giving it a stir.

At this time, boil a pot of salted water for the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the box. Pasta water should taste as salty as the ocean. Once the pasta is done cooking, do not forget to save a half cup of the pasta water.

Add the remainder of the water in to the sauce and reduce it all the way down.

The reason for reducing that much liquid in to the sauce is because you're giving the sauce a chance to really meld all the ingredients in to it's body. It sounds sexy and all, but it's a chef thing and it makes a huge difference in flavor building.

Always taste while you are cooking. Season according to your taste. how salty or spicy you want something is completely up to you.

Once the sauce has reduced and is perfectly seasoned, add it to the pasta in a separate pot, stir until fully incorporated and serve with fresh basil on top and some shaved Parmesan cheese if you like.  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment