I'm back, y'all!!! And rarin' to go! My goal is to post three to five times a week from here on out, so y'all check often and you won't be disappointed. That's the plan anyway. I mean, who plans to disappoint, right? Maybe I should say check back often and I hope you won't be disappointed!
In case you're wondering why I fell off the face of the blogosphere, the past two months have been IN.sane. Not to complain, because some of it was self-inflicted, but between several serious medical issues in my family, one death in the family, a 200-hour hot yoga teacher training, a dying vehicle, and a full time job I've hardly had time to plan my menus or even cook much of anything. I think I went to the grocery store twice, maybe three times, in the past eight weeks. And we've eaten alot of these to hold us over:
After all, they're easy to prepare, pretty versatile (egg salad sandwich, anyone? How about scrambled eggs? Baked eggs? Fried eggs on cheese toast?), and we know where they come from (a local farmer) so we can trust them in a hurry. I did manage to cook a couple of actual meals, and one of them was this spaghetti. But before I get to that, let me put in another plug for hot yoga since I just finished my teacher training.
If you're in Nashville, come to one of my classes at Hot Yoga Nashville. If you're elsewhere, find another studio and teacher you love. This particular yoga series (illustrated above) is designed to work out your entire body: every muscle, joint, ligament, tendon, and fiber down to the cellular level. So many benefits. To name just a few, the heated room warms your body up so you can (eventally) go more deeply and effectively into the postures. The sweating (and it is intense) promotes detoxification. Did you know that sweat is the number two way our body detoxes? Hot yoga combats a number of physical maladies, everything from arthritis to cancer. I know this is a food blog, not an exercise blog, so I'll stop singing the praises of hot yoga. But give it a try. You will love.
Now. Back to the spaghetti. I grew up on pretty much the best spaghetti ever, so I'm what you might call a spaghetti snob. The sauce below, though, passes the test. I originally saw it on my friend Lauren's blog. It is really fun to read because her little boy is so darn cute. On Fridays she has "Foodie Friday" and posts a new recipe she's found. So check it out. And while you're there, find out about Sweet Lou's, her new business venture: all-natural baked goods that are truly to die for. She found the recipe from The Pioneer Woman who apparently can do no wrong in the kitchen. If this spaghetti is any indication, I think she might be as good as everyone says she is. The recipe with my slight adaptations is below. I also recently learned a new method for preparing the noodles. Cook the noodles according to the package directions, but drain them about two minutes early. Then add them to the simmering spaghetti sauce for a few minutes. The flavor cooks into the noodles slightly. Plus, you know how noodles get dried out if you try to save them? Well, the combination of the sauce and the noodles prepared this way keeps the leftovers moist (am I the only one who doesn't hate that word?) so you can just reheat the whole dish. And you will likely be reheating it. This recipe serves a five to six good-sized portions.
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons coconut oil or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, minced in a food processor
1 lb. grass fed beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
1 28-oz can + 1 14.5-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
2 tablespoons tomato paste1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. dried pasta (I used spaghetti noodles)
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (or 3 tablespoons dried basil)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresly grated Parmesan chese (I used asiago), plus more for serving
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate large pan, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink and starting to brown, 5 - 7 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the wine to the pan and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, finish the sauce. Stir in the nutmeg, basil, cream, and remaining 1/4 cup wine. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
When the pasta is cooked and drained, add it and the parmesan cheese to the pan and let it simmer for 5 more minutes.
Serve. Top with additional parmesan cheese if desired.
(Recipe adapted from Ina Garten)