Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ragu, take two (helpings)

February 12, 2013

My son started us off on the right challenge foot today. He wanted to pack a snowman sandwich for lunch. I cut the snowman shapes and ended up with a bunch of scrap pieces of bread. I was babysitting for the day so I asked the little guy if he wanted to munch on some bread. He did. Ha. I had some leftover macaroni and cheese with tomatoes (canned from my garden) for lunch.

I was looking through my recipes to figure out what after school snack to make. I've been checking out some ideas for different butters, as in peanut butters made with other nuts or seeds. I had half a bag of sunflower seeds in the cupboard (I like to put them on salads). Perfect, I'll try some sunflower butter. It was pretty simple. Just put roasted sunflower seeds into a food processor (well, I only have my small food chopper). Process them and process them and process them. Eventually, they will stop being crumbly and will release their oils. I then added a little bit of local honey. I didn't measure, but I would guess around two tablespoons. I wanted it a little creamier so I added just a splash of olive oil. I served it with an apple. It was good. I would recommend it for anyone who loves sunflower seeds. You definitely get the sunflower flavor throughout it. I think I will play around with the texture next time and make it a little less thick to make it easier to dip.

I ended up having some friends over for dinner. I steamed some cauliflower for an easy side so I could get to work on the real star of tonight: beef ragu. I wanted to try a new recipe. If you have never had ragu before, it was pretty similar to spaghetti sauce. I found a recipe on Pinterest and then of course altered it to what ingredients I had on hand. In olive oil, I sauteed some onion, garlic, and carrot. When tender, add in red wine and simmer for a few minutes. Meanwhile in a separate pan, brown seasoned ground beef. Add the carrot mixture to the beef. Add the tomatoes, paste, broth, sugar, salt and pepper, oregano, and bay leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes to thicken. Serve over pasta and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. While cooking, the ragu seemed very liquidy. I was nervous that I had ruined the dish. I think I had added more tomatoes than the recipe I was following had called for. I put in a quart and then noticed I had half a pint of tomatoes still in the fridge from when I had made the macaroni and tomatoes. In that went too. However, once I combined the spaghetti and the ragu, it ended up being just right! Out of 3 adults and 4 kids, 6 of the 7 of us had second helpings! It was really good. It was taking one of my favorite meals (spaghetti) and taking it to another level. The red wine really adds to the flavor of the dish. I'm actually looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

I don't normally post amounts for recipes because honestly, I feel recipes are guides. You can alter them to what you have or what your tastes are. However, we all loved this meal so I thought I would share it with you.

2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
Onion- maybe 1/4 cup chopped
1 large carrot
1 heaping tablespoon garlic
2 bay leaves
5 cups tomatoes (I used home canned)
1 can tomato paste
3 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine
2 teaspoons sugar
salt & pepper
1 pound spaghetti
garnish with parmesan cheese

1 comment:

  1. I just watched a really interesting Good Eats where Alton did the same thing with chocolate. He processed chopped chocolate until it was completely melted. He said that the chocolate melts because you are agitating them so much that the atoms creates enough heat to melt from the inside out. It's about as sciencey as I get!