Tag Archives: Main dish

Meaty Spaghetti Sauce on Spaghetti Squash

One of my favorite meals growing up was spaghetti.  And I can see why my mom made it fairly often.  It was quick, relatively easy and no one complained.  Sometimes when money was tight, she might buy that really horrible powdered spaghetti sauce mix (I believe it’s in between the taco seasoning and biscuits & gravy powdered mixes).  Talk about disappointment.  You walk into the kitchen to find noodles boiling in water, spaghetti sauce on another burner and soon it would dinner paradise.  Only to realize that my mom was trying to use chopped up olives & mushrooms to mask the taste of astronaut spaghetti sauce.

To give my mom credit, she did make a killer lasagna (thanks mom).  And she wasn’t a ‘horrible’ cook or anything, it’s just that I may have branched out a bit more (does anyone else find it interesting that spices were a novelty in the 80s home?).  Well, this Spaghetti Meat Sauce is good.  And when I say meat sauce, I mean, MEAT SAUCE.  I’m not talking about skimpy amounts of beef where the ratio between tomato sauce & meat is more like a “flavored” meat sauce.  I’m not talking about Ragu.  I’m talking about meat being the main ingredient.  At the end of this meal you won’t find yourself saying, “Where’s the beef?”  The 80s is gone my friends, so retire your lemon pepper, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, dressing in a bottle for Iceburg lettuce salad (in case you still have it in your cupboard).  Enjoy the first time ever–picture tutorial!

Clean Spaghetti Squash pricked with a fork all over--ready for destination oven.

 

Cooked for an hour in the oven at 350. Sliced in half, remove the seeds, and scrap with a fork to produce "noodles."

 

Meet the carrots, no need to peel.

 

Yes blurry, but do you see my fingers curved inward--do this!

 

Using the curved fingers to hold the carrot (above pic) and holding the knife with the other hand. Thinly slice off a side, turn it over to slice another. Until all sides are sliced.

Until it looks similar to a Lincoln Log.

 

Now cut them into four smaller logs, like so.

 

Get them lined up, ready for a small dice.

They should look something like this, but no one will judge if they're not.

 

Oh those cute little diced carrots.

 

Celery. Start the cut here and keep rocking it to get more julienne-like cuts. Then small dice.

Meet Mr. Onion who will only make you cry.

 

Once again, pay attention to finger positioning to avoid chopping your finger off. Cut off the top portion, not the scraggly root portion.

After slicing it in half and keeping the root intact. Put one hand on top.

 

With the edge of the chef knife, begin to make a slice at the bottom of the onion. Use your hand on top to help it through if need be.

As you can see, I've created three slices, which will give me four layers. And notice the knife has not come in contact with the root.

 

Here's a front shot of the sliced onion, now for the vertical slices.

Vertical slices. Use the tip of your chef knife to do this.

 

 

Now it's time to cut it into a small dice.

 

I poured about 2 Tb olive oil in my dutch oven over medium heat. After heated a bit, I added the mirepoix.

Skipped a couple steps, but do you blame me--I was hungry.

Dinner is served.

A Year Ago: Roasting a Chicken or Cleaning the Carpet

Meat Sauce with Spaghetti Squash (printable recipe)

I’m a big fan of meat sauce, not so much meatballs, but give me meat sauce and I’m a happy woman.  However, I rarely make it for my family, because of the pasta noodles.  This is a perfect little compromise in my book and my girls don’t care anyway, because they’ll eat just the meat sauce (my kind of girls).

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
1 celery stick, small dice
1 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 Tb tomato paste
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped up small (not oil packed)
1 lb grass-fed hamburger beef
1 lb pastured pork sausage (no flavoring, but you could if you want)
2 cans (14 oz ea) diced tomatoes
2 (more) Tb tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Once it’s heated, place a sheet of aluminum foil on the middle rack and place your cleaned spaghetti squash on top.  Bake for 1 hour.

Mirepoix: There are two types of mirepoix’s.  The one I’m using is the traditional mirepoix, which is simply a mixture of diced carrots, onions, & celery.  I am choosing extra virgin olive oil instead of butter to cook it.  Do a small dice on each of the vegetables.  Add the olive oil to your heavy duty pot and turn heat to medium.  Give it a minute to heat up, then add the vegetables.  Stirring and avoid burning or adding color at all to your onions.  After it’s been cooking for 1 minute or so, add the salt.  Stir and cook for an additional 4 minutes, or till the onions are soft.

Add the finely diced garlic to the mirepoix and stir constantly for 30 seconds.  Now add the first round of 2 Tb tomato paste.  Mix completely with the mirepoix and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chopped up sun dried tomatoes.  Stir an additional 20 seconds.  Now add both meats.  Stir the mirepoix/tomato mixture all into the meats, until thoroughly incorporated.  Stir occasionally to evenly cook the meat.  Once the meat is mostly cooked (small to little traces of pink left), add the diced tomatoes and stir around.  Turn the heat to low/simmer.

Add the bay leaf.  Place the oregano in your hand and grind it up in your hand to release the oils in it.  Now add it to the pot.  Add the remainder 2 Tb tomato paste & stir around. Cover and allow to simmer for anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour.  If you have it on simmer for longer than 30 minutes, check on it periodically and stir.  Season with salt & pepper before serving.

Your squash should be able to be sliced without any give.  Scoop out the seeds.  Get a medium bowl ready.  With a fork, scrap the squash and you will begin to see it turn into miniature spaghetti “noodles.”  Put the spaghetti squash into the bowl.  Serve the squash and top with your meat sauce.

Serves: 8-10

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Roasted Chicken

This morning marks the beginning of week three of Lean & Green Challenge (via Jogo Crossfit Gym).  I must report that the lady writing on Paleo day two is quite different from the one writing in front of the computer today.  There are some areas that are still the same.  For instance, walking into the grocery store and seeing the lovely pastry bat it’s eyelashes at me is a bit tempting.  However, what’s most noticeable is my overall health.  It’s not just physical energy, but mental energy.  So when you hear that phrase, “you are what you eat;” well, I think there’s something to it.  My mental state seems to be at its peak.  I don’t want to attribute it all to how I’m eating, but I truly believe what I’m putting in is making a difference to thinking more clearly.

It’s interesting when you think of the various methods people deal with stress & anxiety.  There are those that I know who attempt to drown out the noises by numbing the pain with drugs.  I’ve always thought, “well, at least I don’t do that,” but there is something to be said about what I have used to numb the pain.  I never thought I used food as a “way out,” but on Saturday, it seemed like the advise I had given my friend of being mindful, drinking some tea, etc, didn’t cut it.  As I’ve briefly mentioned before here, we’ve dealt with various difficulties with our oldest.  In front of her, there are many obstacles (in terms of developmental delays) most of which, she has no idea; however, as her mama, I’m fully aware of them.  On Saturday we received a letter from a visit we had with a genetic researcher/doctor.  It didn’t leave me with warm fuzzies either, but more of that pit feeling.  You know the pit.  It appears to be an unconquerable wall standing in front of you, and if you look at this way, then that’s what it will be.

It was in that moment, as my stomach turned with that unwelcome old friend “anxiety,” that I wanted a mocha, or something sweet to deal with that moment.  But alas, I knew it was my will versus the wall, and I wasn’t going to let it conquer me.  It didn’t and I found that my soul needed time to be creative.  To let out tears of the unknown, talk with God about it, paint (something I haven’t done in a while) and create, and I found my soul (and stomach) was the better for it.  I’m learning a lot about myself (and my jeans have also noticed–in a good way).  One of those things is my renewed love of cooking, while baking takes a backseat.  This roasted chicken is one of them.  It will definitely earn you a couple of “ooos” & “awws” in the kitchen, while not taking much time standing in the kitchen.  Again, thanks for reading and sharing with me in this journey.  I’m certain that I’m not the only one with that unconquerable wall staring at me, but I’m certain you too can conquer it.

 

A Year Ago: Traditions

Roasted Chicken (printable recipe)

I love roasted chicken, because it appears that you’ve been slaving in the kitchen much longer than you actually did.  Plus, take the carcass and turn it into chicken broth.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
bundle of fresh thyme
coconut oil
3 strips quality bacon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425.  Have ready a dutch oven.  Take your chicken and remove all the insides, clip any nails still attached and rinse with cool water.  Pat dry the outside & inside of the bird.  Be generous in sprinkling salt inside the cavity of the bird, along with ground pepper.  Rub coconut oil on the outside of the bird on the breasts, along with under the breast skin.  Sprinkle salt & pepper under the breast skin & on top of the breast.

Put the bundle of thyme inside the cavity.  Place your whole bird in the dutch oven.  By using a dutch oven, you will not have to deal with trussing the chicken.  Take the wings and tuck them behind the back of the chicken.  Now with a pair of kitchen shears, snip an opening on the fat portion near the birds downside (butt) on both sides, in order to tuck the drumstick ends through the holes (consult picture).


Place the three strips of bacon across the breast and put into the oven, cook for 20-25 minutes.  After 20-25 minutes, remove the bacon and turn down the heat to 350.  Baste the chicken.  Cook for an additional 25-35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 165 (poke it between the drumstick & breast).

Once it hits 165, remove from oven.  If you want to make gravy using the drippings go ahead.  Serve it up & enjoy.  Be sure to use the carcass for some great stock.


Paleo Day 1: Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Before we had children, I participated in the South Beach diet with Ben.  The premise is removing grains, some fruit carbs, white potatoes & sugars.  You take everything out the first two weeks, then add in some other items the third week.  I’m not really one for going on diets, but I was game for this one for Ben’s sake (not his Lemonade Cleanse though).  The first day was fine.  I had eggs, some veggies, and probably chicken for dinner.  The next day took a turn for the worse.  This is where that little old friend called “drama” sneaks its way into my head and clouds any clarity or logic.

I called up Ben sobbing the second morning saying something along the lines, “I can’t do it.  If I eat eggs I’m going to puke.  Seriously, I can’t do this anymore–what can I eat?  I can’t…”  Drama is my middle name and I will never live this down, as Ben has already said today that he is expecting a call tomorrow with “nutty wife syndrome.”

Today hasn’t been too bad of day one Paleo.  The hardest is when there are multiple child meltdowns, the comfort of an Americano with cream or a latte is not an option, while I keep pressing on towards the goal.  Reminds me of the Apostle Paul, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Granted, Paul was talking about something a bit different from restraining oneself from sugars, grains & dairy; but, I think it’s the connection of seeing the end goal (whatever it might be).  Right now I’m choosing to embrace this challenge (hopefully without so much drama like before) and I think tonight’s dinner proved a gold.

Pistachio Crusted Salmon with sautéed Shallot & Fennel (printable recipe)

Ingredients:

2 lbs Coho Salmon

mustard

2 cups shelled pistachios

sea salt & ground pepper

4 Tb olive oil

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Ground pistachios in food processor until nicely ground.  Put your salmon skin side down.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Put a thin layer of mustard all over the salmon.  Cover with ground pistachios.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Just before the salmon is done, add olive oil to saute pan and turn to medium heat.  Saute shallots, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add the fennel and keep mixing it up a bit.  It’s okay to have some of it brown & get a bit crispy on some of the pieces.

Put some of the shallot/fennel atop a good portion of pistachio salmon.


Celeriac Risotto with Basil Pesto

Tomorrow morning I drop off my girls with my father-in-law, so I can head back up to Bellingham to bake many, many cupcakes for my sister-in-law’s wedding reception.  Ben is at a conference down in Seattle until tomorrow, which makes for baking those many, many cupcakes a bit stressful with two little monkeys running around.  Before I head off into butter, sugar, eggs & flour land, I find it my duty to introduce you to celeriac–that is if you’ve never met.

Celeriac has a bit of celery coming out, but that part you want to save for making stock.  However, it’s the bulbous, root, where the inner beauty lies.  You would be fooled by passing it by at the farm stand, market or grocery store.  It’s just like it’s name implies, the taste of celery, but a bit more subtle.  You can turn it into a puree, roast it or puree to make a soup.  Here is a wonderful recipe to make use of it’s subtlety in a semi-elegant way, while really not trying as hard as people think you actually did.

A Year Ago:  It’s Called Comfort

Celeriac Risotto with Basil Pesto (printable recipe)

Ingredients:

3-4 Tb olive oil
1 celeriac, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 tsp kosher salt
1 leek, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth, keep warm in a small pot on simmer
3/4-1 cup grated parmesan

Basil Pesto (hopefully you have some on hand that you made from summer’s bounty)

Directions:

In a heavy-duty bottom pot or large saucepan, put oil in pan and turn to medium heat.  Add celeriac & leeks, stirring often, until celeriac is tender but not browned.  Add rice to pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add the wine and mix, allowing the alcohol to burn off a bit and soak into the rice (about 30 seconds).

Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the rice & mix well.  Allow the liquid to bubble, turn heat to a simmer and continue adding warm broth in 1/2 cup increments, while stirring often to ensure your rice isn’t dry at the bottom of the pot and getting burnt.  It should take about 20-25 minutes, or till the rice is creamy, but a little al dente is good.  Add the grated parmesan and mix it in.  Serve immediately and put a teaspoon of basil pesto on top.


Comfort of Chicken-n-Dumplings

One of my favorite summer events was going camping with other family’s from our church family.  We would go to Indian Hills in the Laguna Mountains right outside of San Diego (one benefit of growing up in a town like Yuma, AZ).  The parents would do who knows what, while us kids would find the most willing & easily taken advantage of adult to take us to the pool.  We would also try to get some wax paper from the ladies who made the meals, because there was the monster of all slides with other puny playground equipment around.

After watching Swiss Family Robinson, I was convinced that living on a deserted island in a tree was pretty much the best place ever.  And here in the middle of Indian Hills was a tree house that emulated all I ever dreamed.  Aside from the stairs leading up to the tree house (the key was “Don’t Look Down!”), once you got to the top we would run toward our destiny–our anticipated ride down.  The ride being the largest slide I have ever encountered.  It was as if we were Fred Flintstone for a mere section in the opening credits as he slid down the Brontosaurus’ neck.  In fact, the camp specifically had painted on the wooden side enclosing the slide, “NO WAX PAPER.”  But we threw caution to the wind.  At that very moment, we embraced all that we knew to be a kid.  So what did we do?  We would sneak some up anyway.   There was a thrill knowing we were breaking the rules, in order to gain that perfect amount of speed and a little bit of vertigo.  All for round two & three and so one as we raced back to the stairs to start again.  It’s no wonder that kids are innately born with tons of energy with no awareness that their play is actually exercise.  Any rational person would quickly realize the time it took us to climb up wasn’t worth the ride down.  But we were living dangerously with our smuggled in wax paper.

It was also no wonder that when dinner time hit, we were starving like the deserted inhabitants we envisioned ourselves to be.  While the Swiss Family Robinson’s dream hit the fan around 4:30, as we whimpered to our parents about our stomachs eating themselves.  I strolled on over to the eating area around 4:00 where Gramma Naomi Quinn was preparing dinner for us.  Now, Gramma Quinn was that quintessential, older lady that you envision having rhythm in the kitchen.  She knew what paired well.  She knew how to feed an army.  And she knew how to give some of the best, big Gramma hugs a child (or adult) could imagine.

She was known by everyone as Gramma Quinn.  When our church did a baking auction to raise money for the Youth Group, her homemade cinnamon rolls were the big ticket item.  Because with those simple six words, “They were made by Gramma Quinn,” had more clout than a notary stamp.  She came up to me, as I shivered in the cool breeze, and asked, “Kamille, what would you like me to fix for dinner?”  By her asking me that question, it made me think the following:  a.) I would be picking dinner for everyone else b.) that “Gramma Quinn” only asked me & no one else and c.) knowing she made the best (and only) Chicken-n-Dumplings I ever tasted in my whole seven years of living.  “Your chicken-n-dumplings please!”, I replied.  She smiled and said, “Well, I think that would be perfect on a cool evening like this.  (and indulging me a little bit) And do you think that would hit the spot for you?”  “Oh YES!,” I said.

Me (8 yrs), Andrew (2 1/2 yrs), Willy (10 yrs)

That wouldn’t be the only time Gramma Quinn would make me chicken-n-dumplings, but this was the first where she made them to order on my request.  Whenever I think about the creamy, salty, buttery dumpling laced with the gravy-like stew sprinkled with pepper on top, I always think of her and how she nourished my body and my soul with her big pot of goodness and her big Gramma bear hug.  And so in her memory and my childhood nostalgia, make this hearty pot of chicken-n-dumplings.  I think you’ll be recalling your own childhood dinner stories as you take your first bite.

My recipe is a transfiguration of sorts, which I find very handy when you’re trying to cook from scratch with shortcuts..if you will.

Chicken-n-Dumplings (printable recipe)

Now there are so many ways in which you could use chicken for the recipe.  You could boil down a whole chicken, then use the chicken stock & the chicken for the soup.  Or you could use some chicken breasts & pre-made chicken stock.  Or you could buy a rotisserie chicken, remove the meat, then boil the carcass with the veggies to make your own stock.  You be the judge.

Ingredients:

One rotissiere chicken, meat removed & cut into bite sized chunks
6 cups water
2 carrots, big chunk slices
1 onion, cut into quarters
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Dumplings

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 Tb shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Making the broth: In a dutch oven or big stock pot, add your chicken carcass, cold water, carrots, onion, celery & salt.  Bring to a boil, cover & lower heat.  Simmer for 45 minutes (Time saving tips below).  Remove chicken carcass.  Strain veggies out & reserve the carrots & celery (discard the onion).  Put a sieve over a bowl and ladle the chicken broth to separate any remaining particles.  Rinse your pot, pour the broth back in and keep heat on medium heat.  Now make those dumplings.

Make the dumplings: Combine the flour, baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt; cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is consistency of coarse meal.  Add the buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times–no more, you’re going for biscuit like.  Pat the dough down to a 1/4-inch thickness.  Set aside.

Bringing it altogether: Put the pot of broth on medium-high heat & bring it to a boil, and stir in the milk & pepper.  Correct seasonings, if you so desire.  Take the dumplings and pinch off 1 1/2-inch pieces, one or two at a time and drop into the boiling broth & reduce the heat to medium-low.  Stir from time to time to keep the dumplings from sticking.  Continue dropping in the dumplings until there are no more.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the cut chicken, carrots, & celery to the pot and simmer until heated through.  Remove from heat, a couple of grinds with pepper & serve.

Time Saving Tips:

  1. Use the rotisserie chicken for the chicken, but use boxed chicken broth instead of making your own.
  2. The original recipe calls for cooking up a whole chicken for 60-70 minutes to make the broth; however, I find an already roasted chicken makes for a deeper & richer broth.

Receiving the Gifter

Our church body has been going through I Corinthians since September.  I have to say that it’s been a wonderful & fulfilling process digging through this letter.  It hasn’t been a quick study, which makes me feel like I have bypassed those awkward first couple of dates and now I’m building a relationship.  One thing we as a large body are doing is memorizing this passage in the Lenten season:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Just the night before I was talking to Ben about stuff in my life revolving around this verse.  One of those things was on food and the ability to use it as an idol of sorts, or even use it to snuff other people.  What got me thinking about it was my friend Talia asking us moms at our Thursday morning playgroup about advice on cooking a steak.  I found myself desperately wanting to give my input and mainly so I would continue to be known as the person who is most knowledgeable about food.  I recalled different instances to Ben that I have done this in the past month.

Most of this was due to pride.  However, what got me thinking a bit further was how easy it is to turn on a snobbery about food.  Not only food, but places I will shop, items I will buy, mantras I will endorse.  Food is such a sticky subject when you get right down to it.  It serves a basic need and provides a creative outlet.  It nourishes & sustains; as well as, stimulates & binds.  I love food for all these reasons.  I am convicted by what I choose to buy for my family, trying to ensure quality while maintaining a modesty, if you will, for those who are starving.  I also understand that as you eat more food, your palate broadens and you become more picky about what you will put into your body.

In Bellingham, we have been a “Green” city long before it was vogue.  Composting, buying local, grass-fed, organic weren’t just marketable clichés, but a way of life for many.  And as we’ve been studying the church of Corinth and some of their issues it has got me thinking about how as a Christian our issues may be different, but attitude has not.  In looking at my culture in my town, these “organic, buy-local, free-range, farmer’s market from the Earth” values are good.  It is both the Christian and the non, seeking to be stewards of the Earth.  However, where I feel like I personally have gone astray is when I’ve taken these inherently good values and made them more important than the person giving a gift.  Let me break it down into a simple story if you’re not tracking with me.

My mom said to me about four years ago that she could get some gift cards from her work (due to some reward thing) for Wal-Mart, which could go towards anything I needed for our first child (I was pregnant at the time).  Now, many people shop at Wal-Mart, but at this moment in time, and then, I don’t–due to moral convictions.  However, what I said in response to my mom is what I would define as a snobbery, which is putting my “values” ahead of the person.  I told her that I wouldn’t really want the gift card, because I don’t want to support Wal-Mart and what they stand for.  In my ignorance, I was thinking I was stomping on feet of injustice.  But really–I was stomping on the generosity of my mother trying to give anything she had for me.  I was putting what I would call a good value ahead of the person.  I was lacking love.

It’s exactly as the writer says in the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  Whenever I put my own agenda, values, or convictions (even if they’re good) ahead of a person who is created in the likeness of God, I defecate on them, because I lack love.  When I snub off a gift of factory farmed chicken, tasteless steak, plastic made toy, dessert from a box, or even (shall I say it) coffee from Folger’s, if I have let these stand above the person, I have lacked love.

But…I don’t want to end with you (or me) thinking it is never okay to hold to standards we’ve set forth.  For me, I have a standard of eating cake from scratch for instance.  However, if my friend invited us over for dinner and she made it from a box, I’m not going to say, “no thanks,” because of it.  Instead, I’m going to delight that my friend loved me enough to prepare something for me; regardless, if it meets my standards, because she meets God’s standards and that’s what love is.  Because I want to receive the gifter more than the gift (yes I know gifter is not a word).

So as any good friend (that I hope to be, even if we’ve never met), I want to share this tangible gift, which comes in the form of creamy, semi-modest, yet flavorful tomatoey (c) goodness.  I have made it a couple times, but the most memorable was for a group of graduating college Seniors for their banquet.  The director of the group had been to many of these banquets over the years and told me this main dish (and the dessert Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries) was the best Senior Banquet meal he had ever had (that’s at least 20 years worth).

Creamy Tomato Sauce with Pasta (printable recipe)

This is an easy gift to give and I doubt many people would refuse it.  It has depth of flavor, creamy, great texture and invites you to serve up another bowl.  Recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tb unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce prosciutto, minced (about 2 Tb)
  • 1 small onion, diced fine (about ¾ cup) [I used shallots this time around]
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tb tomato paste
  • 2 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tb dry white wine
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tb crushed tomatoes (from one 28-ounce can) [I used whole tomatoes and crushed them in the pan]
  • 1 pound pasta (use a short pasta, ziti, penne, or fusilli)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

1.Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add prosciutto, onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and beginning to turn light gold, 8 to 12 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add ¼ cup wine and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
2.Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil.  Add pasta and 1 Tb salt and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
4.Remove bay leaf from sauce and discard.  Stir cream, remaining 2 Tb crushed tomatoes, and remaining 2 Tb wine into sauce; season to taste with salt & pepper.  Add sauce to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with up to ½ cup pasta cooking water.  Stir in basil and serve immediately.  Top with Parmesan.