As I mentioned in my post earlier today, I need to increase my protein intake. Normally, my preference on from-scratch red sauce for pasta is a chunky garden-style sauce, with lots of fresh veggies and tomatoes I put up from the previous year’s garden… and absolutely NO added sugar (a high quality sweet balsamic vinegar does the job quite nicely). The ingredients and amounts always vary and I never really measure anything. Well, tonight I’m adding some meat to the mix *and* I carefully measured everything, except the herbs. Hopefully this beautiful gravy will have my muscles nice and happy and ready to take on the chicken kicks tomorrow at MMA!
- 1/2 lb ground bison
- 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
- 6 oz matchstick carrots
- 1 lb zucchini, cubed
- 1 large sweet pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 c diced tomatoes
- 3 Tbs sweet balsamic vinegar*
- 2 c water
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp celery salt OR salt-substitute
Brown the ground meat. (You can use all beef, all buffalo, or whatever ground meat you like. I go with buffalo and beef because it’s a nice meaty flavor & the bison cuts the fat content even further.) Drain any fat, if needed, then mix in the garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes (I let it cook over med-low heat while I prep the carrots & squash.) Mix in the carrots & squash, and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Add in your tomatoes (I use 3-4 pints of home canned tomatoes, but it’s about the same amount as (4) 14oz cans of store bought.) Allow to cook for another 10 minutes or so, then stir in the paste, water, balsamic vinegar, and seasonings.
Put a lid on and let it simmer over medium to medium low heat for 15 minutes or so, while your pasta water heats. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference (I added a bit more basil and about 1 Tbs garlic powder). Allow it to simmer while your pasta cooks.
Serve over pasta, with your favorite grated or shaved cheese. (I’m a big fan of asiago, personally.)
This recipe makes about 4.5 quarts of sauce. (I’ll come back and add the nutritional info once I’ve got it figured out.)
*I use the Traditional 25-year Reserve Balsamic Vinegar from Olive-n-Grape in New Hope, PA. It is a little expensive, but goes a long way and is *so* worth every penny! It has a beautiful syrupy consistency and amazing flavor. If you don’t have access to a good sweet balsamic, you may need to adjust your recipe & use something else. I really recommend getting your hands on the good quality balsamic and using that if you can, though!