Day 5 – how are you all doing on resolutions? I don’t set resolutions, but I have goals for each year. So far I have knocked out a few – I reached out to a garden pro, I read two books I wanted to, and I’ve plotted out some projects around the house this year. For me, 2014 is about taking things a step further. For example, my garden does pretty well, but it could be better and there are things I’m absolutely doing wrong (overcrowding my beets, not harvesting my winter bed, etc) so I reached out for help. This morning I got some awesome feedback and suggestions on next steps and I feel so excited. Now if only I could find a use for a pound of radishes… stay tuned for that experiment.
I know many of you have resolved to cook more at home and to eat better – this dish is for you. It’s a great weeknight meal, you can even make it ahead and reheat on busy nights. Not to mention it tastes decadent, but is actually very healthy. One caveat, is that it is far more delicious when made in a cast iron skillet.
Skillet Meat Sauce with Pasta
- 1 pound whole wheat ribbon pasta like tagliatelle or linguine
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 jar roasted bell peppers, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 14 ounces diced tomatoes, no salt added
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey (I always opt for the 93/7 as I feel it has just enough fat without being dry and bland)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup cream or fat-free half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the solids have melted together. Turn the pan to coat and then hit the skillet with a spray of nonstick cooking spray for good measure.
- Cook onion until softened and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic to the skillet, stirring to coat in the butter/oil. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes then add the tomatoes and tomato paste stirring well to combine.
- Transfer skillet contents to a blender and purée until you get a consistent texture – I like my sauce a little chunky at this point, not velvety smooth but it’s up to you. Let this rest in the blender a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, brown the meat in the skillet, breaking up into bite-sized pieces. Once the meat is browned a bit and nearly cooked through, pour the pepper-tomato sauce over and stir to combine. Add stock and cream and stir well. Let this simmer about 5 minutes and season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- To serve, mix half of the sauce with your drained pasta then pour the remaining sauce over top. I top ours with a bit of parmesan cheese. I use a microplane to get the cheese so light and fluffy. This yields 6 servings and I suggest a bowl of mixed greens with a homemade vinaigrette.