Monday, May 5, 2008


I have long been called saucy. Snippy. Bossy. Brash. However you want to call me, I am independent and somewhat opinionated. But neither do I let anyone walk all over me. I believe in standing up for what you believe in.

I have been through 2 marriages. The first was when I was very young, 18, and lasted 2 years. He wanted me to let him run around and do whatever with whomever and not say anything. Needless to say, I got saucy and he didn't like it.

The second was when I was older and should have known better. I was very lonely, tho and wanted a companion. Instead I got another child, someone to take care of all the time. I told him exactly what I thought about that. That marriage did not last, either.

Now I am single and I rather like it. Would I marry again - absolutely - IF I found the right person. But it has to be one who doesn't mind me being saucy now and again!!

Today I am giving you a recipe for a simple Italian meat sauce. I discovered this delicious sauce in Cook's Illustrated magazine. Lovely!

Simple Italian Meat Sauce
Makes about 6 cups.

4 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed
1 large slice white bread, quartered
2 Tablespoons milk
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 pound at least 85% lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes - I would use a bit more
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, 1/4 cup liquid reserved
1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)


Process mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped, about eight 1-second pulses. Transfer to a bowl. Add bread, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to food processor bowl and process until paste forms, about eight 1-second pulses. Add beef and pulse until mixture is well-combined, about six 1-second pulses.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high until just smoking. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently until vegs are browned and dark bits form on bottom of pan, 6-12 minutes.


Stir in garlic, pepper flakes and tomato paste, cook until fragrant and paste starts to brown, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup reserved tomato liquid and 2 teaspoons fresh oregano (if using dried, add full amount), scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits. Add meat mixture and cook.


Break meat into small pieces, cooking until beef loses its raw color, 2-4 minutes, making sure that meat does not brown.

Stir in crushed and drained diced tomatoes and bring to simmer, reduce heat to low and gently simmer until sauce has thickened and flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining teaspoon fresh oregano; season with salt and pepper to taste.


Serve over pasta with extra cheese.


A tip on how to only use 1 Tablespoon of Tomato paste: Take the can and stick it in the freezer for a few hours, until it is frozen solid. Take the can out, open both ends and run a little warm water over the sides of the can. Hey presto, the paste slides out in a cylinder. Slice that into about 6 rounds with a sharp knife and then stick them in a bag and pop it back in the freezer. Then when you need only 1 Tablespoon, take a round out and throw it in whatever you are making.

This sauce after making can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month. Nice to have around if you have company.

So tonight, be a little saucy . . . . just don't get in trouble!


nicisme said...

Even though I don't eat beef, this looks really super! I would sub it with something else, but it's not quite the same. :(

Marie said...

Great looking Sauce Raquel! Todd would love this, although I'd have to make him potatoes to have with it. It took me three times to get the marriage thing right, not something I am hugely proud of, but proof that if you persevere, it can be done!