Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One-Skillet Sauce

This is the one when you need a quick, very basic, thick meat and veggie sauce that can be used to top pasta, made into lasagna or other baked pasta dish. as a base for chili or pasta e fagioli.

I use my very large stainless steel skillet to cook everything together, eliminating the need for dirtying more than one pan.

1 lb of ground meat (turkey, beef, pork, etc) I used mild Italian pork sausage
1/2 – 1 tsp olive oil – drizzled in the pan as needed to prevent sticking if using a very lean meat
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped,
1 medium zucchini, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
fresh ground black pepper

1 can or jar traditional style pasta sauce (24 oz)
1 can sliced Italian stewed tomatoes, un-drained

Place the meat in the skillet. Top with all the chopped vegetables and seasonings.

Cook on medium-high heat until the mixture starts to sizzle. Mix and break up with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink and the juices have reduced in the pan. You may choose to increase the heat to high to cook of any remaining liquid, but watch carefully and stir often, to avoid sticking and burning.
You may drain the mixture in a colander if the there is a lot of liquid or fat (depending on the type of meat you use)
Reduce heat to low; add the pasta sauce and un-drained tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes if desired.
Cover the skillet and let cook on low until heated through while cooking the pasta or proceeding with the rest of your recipe.

Because I like to cook my sauce a day or two ahead of time, to allow the flavors to mingle and to save on dinner time prep the day that I want to eat the sauce, I will allow to cool a bit and then cover and refrigerate in the skillet. When it's time to use the sauce, I will skim off any fat the hardened on the top, then gently heat over medium heat while cooking my pasta and making a salad and bread.


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