October 05, 2009

Pasta with Meaty Pork Tomato Sauce

So it appears that pork is the new beef in our household. We can get SUPER cheap pig at Metropolitan Market and I like that it's so versatile. This particular meal is a pretty usual one. I'm going to show my usual meat mixture that I use for meatballs and sauces first, since that's really the bulk of this. So, for your pig, you'll need:

2 pounds of ground pork
1/2 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons of pesto (or other fresh herbs)
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg
2 tsp each of
   cumin (I usually use whole--cut it down to 1 tsp if you're using ground)
   basil (I like sweet basil, but use whatever kind you want to)
1 tsp of the following
   Italian seasoning blend (mine has some rosemary and sage)
   chili powder
a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste (go a little easy on the salt, since you've got the cheese)

Get it all mixed up thoroughly! Don't be afraid to use your hands and really get in there--clean hands are a cook's best tools. I usually use a pound at a time for most things, so when I mix it fresh, I pack half of it into a quart-size plastic baggie and press it flat so there's no (or at least very little) air in the bag. Then, I stick it flat in the freezer. It takes up very, very little space and it's quick defrosting since it's spread so thinly.

Get it into a stainless steel pan with a bit of olive oil  that's been preheated on medium/medium-high heat. Remember, I'm a "fiddler" so I tend to babysit my cooking. Use whatever stove setting you usually use for getting things golden brown and delicious. I almost never use nonstick for cooking meats, since I want all those little brown bits on the bottom for added flavor. And let it cook so that it does get nice and brown. I didn't shape the meat this time.

Oh, yeah... Mmmm... See that little beautifully-browned chunk of pork at the bottom, there? That is your friend. Your delicious, delicious friend. When your meat is fully browned, add a little bit of stock to the pan to deglaze (red wine also works for this particular meal, but I think I just used chicken stock or something equally boring and delicious.)

Now, for your sauce! You can go ahead and used a jarred sauce if you like. I find that those are often too salty and the chunks of tomato give me really gnarly heartburn, so I get a can of tomato sauce ($1) and add stuff until it's delicious.

I don't have any lovely ingredient photos for you, but here's how it went down:

1 24-oz can of tomato sauce (again, $1. One freaking dollar! How great is THAT?!)
3 T pesto
3 T awesome sauce (details kind of in the middle of this post)
1/2 sweet onion, diced (I like using the Mayan sweet onions. All the time. In everything. I think I want to marry them.)
1/2 sweet onion sliced (half moons, please, sliced VERY thinly)
3-4 cloves of garlic, diced very finely
some kind of Italian cheese for added flavor

Soften the onions and garlic in the pot on medium heat with olive oil before adding the tomato sauce. Let the tomato sauce come to a simmer before adding all the other stuff. Do not skimp on flavoring! I like to have a piece of bread torn into small pieces on hand to get an idea of how the sauce tastes ON something. A sip from a spoon is good policy, but can seem overpowering, so it's nice to get an idea of how it tastes otherwise. So yeah, just add bits and pieces of everything, stirring frequently, until everything is combined and warmed through.

Add half of the sauce to the meat mixture once the pork is fully cooked and the pan is deglazed. Save the other half of your sauce for another delicious, delicious meal. This is a LOT of sauce. Stir the sauce and meat together well, set the heat to low, and let everything hang out and become good buddies.

Get your pasta boiling. I break my pasta in half before adding it to the pot since I don't own anything that's a good size for cooking pasta. Someday I'll have a stock/pasta pot! I believe in ME! :D

I used fettuccine noodles, but use whatever rocks your boat. I like thicker pastas (no thinner than spaghetti!) for meat sauces. The heartiness of the noodles stands up well to the heartiness of the meat. For a meat-free sauce, I'll usually just use spaghetti.

Add sauce and meat to pasta and profit!

Yum! I wish I could eat pasta with tomato sauce every single day, but my esophagus would never forgive me. Alas...

No comments:

Post a Comment