Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Italian Sausage Bolognese

   I don't care if it is the middle of summer, sometimes you just need a huge plate of pasta with red sauce.  Normally I find such a thing a bit too heavy for hot, humid evenings.  But there are always those occasional grey, rainy days in a Southern summer.  Despite the fact that the air is sticky beyond belief and so oppressive you can barely breathe, the cravings of fall start to kick in.  I lightened the traditional meat sauce a bit by using fresh-canned tomatoes and turkey Italian sausage.  Those two things alone cut down on the fat, sugar, and salt.  So needless to say, the calories are greatly reduced.  Even though this simmers on the stove for a while, you still have a fresher taste than if you use a jarred sauce.

Italian Sausage Bolognese
1 med onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 links turkey Italian sausage (I like hot, but mild will work too.)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 C water or broth
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
salt and pepper
~1 T extra virgin olive oil

   Heat oil over med heat in a pot.  Saute onion until soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove casing from sausages.  Add meat to pan.  Break meat up into small bits as it cooks (a potato masher works well to help this along.)
   Add garlic, tomatoes, water, herbs and crushed red pepper flake.  (Add salt at this point if your canned tomatoes are salt-free.)  Cover and simmer over med-low for 40-45 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  It pairs really well with whole grain/whole wheat pasta.
   Serves 4-6.
   (This also freezes really well if you want to make a huge batch and then portion it out.  Allow to cool completely, divide into plastic ware containers.  Spread a little oil over a piece of plastic wrap and lay on the surface of the sauce before sealing and freezing.  This will prevent freezer burn.  Thaw in the the fridge overnight and then heat over med-low/med heat for a quick weeknight meal.)

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