Recipe: Easy Dinner of Pasta with Meat Sauce
Some nights, heck, most nights you need a quick, easy to shop for, easy to make and easy to cook meal for dinner. This recipe (hard to even call it a recipe!) is just that, courtesy of some amazing jarred Organic Red Heirloom Tomato pasta sauce from St. Helena Olive Oil Company in Napa Valley. In fact if you buy the ground beef ahead of time and freeze it, you can skip a trip to the store all together as the rest of the items are staples. If you can’t get the Heirloom sauce, then substitue any simple red sauce you like – you can always adjust the seasoning at the end by adding in some orgeano andor basil (add a little, cook for a bit, taste, adjust as needed).
1 lb pasta of your choice
1/2 lb lean grass fed ground beef
1 26 oz jar Organic Red Heirloom Tomato Pasta sauce
2 cloves of garlic
dash of olive oil
2-3 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn starch (optional, just helps with the texture of the meat and helps thicken the sauce a little)
In a large pot, bring salted water to boil to have ready to cook the pasta. Read the instructions for cooking your pasta and plan to throw it into the water when you are that many minutes away from wanting to serve.
Place ground beef in a bowl, add sugar, corn starch and soy sauce. Blend with a spoon to season all of the beef.
Finely chop garlic.
Put jarred sauce in a medium sized pot on medium heat. It should be large enough to hold the entire jar of sauce, plus some water if the sauce gets too thick, plus the ground beef. When cooking a sauce like this you want to always leave some room to add water to help loosen the sauce if it gets too thick. Reduce heat once it comes to a simmer and continue to stir occasionally, lower heat if it starts to boil.
Heat frying pan with a dash of olive oil. Have the seasoned beef near by. When the pan is hot add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds till fragrant. Be sure to stir constantly at this stage to avoid burning the garlic. Add the beef and fold in the garlic to casually disburse through the meat and prevent burning. After folding in the beef let it sit and get nice and brown on one side. You can break it up while it browns into small pieces (sized for a meat sauce) with your spatula but don’t flip it around tomuch to help it brown. After you notice some nice brown color (=flavor!) developing then start to mix the beef up some more, moving it around the pan to cook through, continuing to break it up in the size pieces you want for your sauce. Once cooked through spoon the beef into the pasta sauce. You could get away with calling it done after about 10 minutes of cooking them together. But if you want the flavors to really blend, you should continue to cook the sauce for another 30 minutes on a simmer. Add water if it gets too thick and cook for a few more minutes. You can make the sauce ahead of time, leaving it on simmer until you are ready for it, adding water as needed. Or letting it cool and heating it back up when you want it.
While the sauce and beef are simmering, cook up your pasta.
To serve, plate pasta and a healthy helping of the sauce. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
This should serve four people with some side dishes, perhaps a salad and some garlic bread.
– Where to buy the Tomato Sauce: St. Helena Olive Oil Company, with stores in Napa Valley and an online.
Side Note: We had been searching for the perfect pasta dishes for years now, and we finally found them! They are from Heath Ceramics. I highly recommend you check them out if you are in the market for new dishes. Expensive but they look and feel wonderful and should last forever. They offer free shipping on orders above $150. But if you can make it to a store, you should. You can even take a tour of their factory in Sausalito and while you’re there grab the BEST crab sandwich (perhaps the best sandwich of any category) at Fish which is within walking distance.