As winter comes to a close and Spring is in bloom I want to share my favorite, fairly easy, winter dish. I’m all about taking turns cooking dinner with my husband so we have a cozy way to end the night, and this is always his go-to “make the wife happy” meal. I hate to admit it – he definitely has more patience than I do when it comes to cooking, but this was something I picked up pretty effortlessly!
- 1# ground meat (beef, turkey, pork)
*We love using spicy Italian sausage for a little extra flavor with a kick.
- 15 oz can of favorite tomato sauce
*After a long work day, we usually use a store-bought can of Bertolli’s for convenience, but feel free to be creative with a plain can of tomato sauce and add your own spices!
- 4 oz can of tomato paste
- 1 Italian pepper, chopped
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- Salt, pepper, and dried basil to taste
*I suggest any kind of pasta with grooves and swirls. Did you know this pasta is specifically made for meat sauces? All the grooves are meant to grab and hold onto more meat in every bite!
First, brown the meat in large skillet [preferably with ledges] for about five minutes on medium heat. The pan will need to be big enough to hold all of the sauce ingredients eventually. Once the meat is almost fully cooked and broken up, it’s good timing to place a pot half-full of water on the stove top to boil [be sure to have the heat on high and cover the pot with a lid for a more timely boil].
After getting the water set up, lower the heat of the sauce pan a bit and toss in your pepper and onion. You’ll want to sauté on low-medium heat until the vegetables appear softened. This may take longer than expected [about ten minutes] BUT you want to have the heat low enough so that the meat doesn’t overcook.
As soon as the water boils, feel free to throw in your favorite pasta! I usually turn the heat down to medium-hot to be sure nothing overflows [I learned that lesson quickly]. Don’t forget to occasionally stir!
Next, add the small can of tomato paste to the meat and veggie mix and stir to cover all ingredients. This will help add some thickness to the sauce. [Feel free to negate if you don’t love a nice thick sauce as much as we do!]
Last, pour the can of tomato sauce over the meat and veggie mixture and stir. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about five minutes [covered, to avoid a red splattered stove top – also a lesson I learned quickly]. This is usually about the time your pasta should be done al dente! Strain the water from your pasta, scoop up your serving, smother in that delicious sauce, and voila!