Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a scene in Eat, Pray, Love. I just loved the scene when Liz Gilbert sits and dines al fresco in a cafe somewhere in Rome, Italy. They give her this amazing looking bowl of pasta and she has a lot of fun eating it. It looked divine. I had to make something like it, I decided last night.
Due to my lack of protein these days, I went to Whole Foods and picked up some chicken (for Tuesday night – stay tuned) and 1/2 a pound of 95% lean ground beef. I really do only purchase meat at Whole Foods because I feel like their quality is better than what I might find in the average grocery store. (I could be wrong, but this is just how I feel) Sure, it can be more expensive, but I do not eat meat all that much, so I do not mind spending a little extra on it when I do.
Here is what Whole Foods promises for their beef:
- No antibiotics — ever
- No supplemental growth hormones
- No animal byproducts in feed
- Range raised for at least 2/3 of the animal’s life
Normally I make just a regular tomato pasta sauce, but tonight I used ground beef and made my own version of bolognese sauce. I started by chopping up half of a huge onion (I would tell people to use one onion – if it is normal size…)
I sauteed them in olive oil:
I eventually added one smashed and diced clove of garlic (you can add more if you wish – I was trying to go lightly on the garlic since my mom was also eating the sauce!) Once the onion was translucent [be sure not to burn the garlic], I added a can of diced tomatoes and their juice. I added half a cup of water, too. Normally I would add tomato paste – but I had not inspected the can I had. It was not until I was home from the store and had started cooking when I realized that the paste had expired in 2008. Ugh. But the sauce was still great…
I started browning the beef in another skillet…
Eventually I married the two together. I spooned the meat out of the first skillet and into the second. If you are going to pour, I suggest draining the meat first – especially if you are using a ground beef that is not quite as lean.
I let the sauce cook down for a while, maybe for twenty minutes on low. I started the pasta water the moment my mom walked in the door. I added a tablespoon or two of light cream to the sauce and turned up the heat just a tad. (Medium low) Once the pasta was cooked al-dente, I drained it and put it right into my pan with the sauce. I tossed everything together:
Once all of the pasta was nicely coated, I plated the meal… and garnished with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese:
This meal was a big hit with my audience (my mom). It is not hard at all and just a tad time consuming. It is so well worth it!! I am having left overs for lunch tomorrow.
Ok, I have to get up at my normal time tomorrow, so I’m off to bed. See you soon!