Friday, March 26, 2010
Tomato, Tomato, Tomato Meat Sauce
Tomorrow is a long, 10-mile run, and what's a girl to do to prepare? Stock up on carbohydrates with a pasta dinner (using gluten free pasta, of course). Normally, I'd brown some ground turkey, mix in a little turkey sausage to enrich the flavor, pour a jar of organic tomato sauce over the top, and spice it up with a few shakes of crushed red pepper. A quick and easy pre-run meal with just the right amount of protein and carbs.
But tonight the sauce had more of an organic feel. It was definitely homemade, but not in the traditional sense of the word. It just kind of grew from my poor planning...or was it my pure creative genius?
It started with the two pounds of frozen turkey that thawed on my counter all day. Thinking back, when the woman behind the meat counter at Whole Foods said, "Would you like that wrapped separately?" I should have said yes. But the brick of meat finally thawed, and it didn't take me long to realize that browning two pounds of turkey plus the contents of two sausage casings wasn't going to fit in my largest fry pan. Sometime between transferring half of the meat to a second pan and sauteing a whole onion with a few cloves of garlic, I realized that my single jar of pasta sauce just wasn't going to be enough, unless I wanted moist tomato-flavored meatballs for dinner.
With the mountain of turkey browned, and the contents of the pasta jar looking pitifully inadequate in the saucepan, I began looking around the kitchen for anything that resembled a tomato to increase the volume of my sauce. Thankfully, I had a can of fire-roasted whole tomatoes in the cupboard as well as a small can of diced tomatoes. They doubled my sauce, but the mound of meat still looked overwhelming. I rummaged through the refrigerator to find an old jar of pasta sauce that still had about a half cup of sauce clinging to the bottom. I hesitated, but opened the jar and took a whiff. Smelled fine to me, so the old sauce was quickly swirled into my new sauce on the stove. As I was about to close the door to the fridge I saw a tupperware of leftover pizza sauce from last weekend's homemade pizzas. How different can pasta and pizza sauce be? In the pot it went along with the last splash of organic tomato juice. The produce drawer held one lonely tomato that I quickly diced and added to the mixture, and the sauce suddenly looked healthy, bubbly, and ready to receive the meat. The sauce was the exact consistency I was hoping for.
The corn pasta drenched in tomato, tomato, tomato meat sauce was incredible. The tomato flavors deep and rich, perfectly seasoned with basil and oregano, mixed well with the hint of spicy sausage. And it's a good thing too, because we'll be eating tomato, tomato, tomato meat sauce for weeks to come.