August 11, 2011

A Journey of a Thousand Miles...

…Begins with a single pasta.

For my first blogged recipe, I chose spaghetti, because pasta can be an amazing staple for home cooks on a budget of both time and money. Pasta noodles of any kind are very reasonably priced and you can dress them a hundred different ways.

I regularly only cook for two- me and Trevor (my amazing boyfriend), so most of my recipes will be made for pairs to happily feast. For my single readers, do not despair; you can definitely make single servings or create the dish as is and you will have leftovers (which in themselves are great money savers also!).

Spaghetti is very popular at my house, so I keep the essentials in my cupboard at all times:

Spaghetti noodles
Spaghetti sauce (in a jar is fine, I’ll talk about the make your own version later)
Ground meat (beef, turkey, or buffalo are excellent choices!)
Spices (oregano, parsley, and basil are my favorites, but feel free to try your own!)

Spaghetti in 35 minutes or less? And GO!

Pour one jar of spaghetti sauce in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium/low heat (if your burner has a scale of 1 to 9, I put it on 3) and season the sauce.

Seasoning your sauce is definitely a “to taste” experience. Since everyone’s taste buds are different, I will use the part method. Stir in two parts oregano, one part basil, and a half part parsley. Here I would recommend a part being either a tablespoon or a teaspoon, but I prefer tablespoon.

Once you have your sauce started, start your meat (vegetarians can skip this part). Tonight I used ground beef, but Trevor loves it when I use ground buffalo! Put the meat in a non-stick skillet over high heat and season with a teaspoon of Kosher salt and a teaspoon of black pepper. As you cook your meat, depending on how lean it is, drain the fat as needed. When breaking down the meat, be sure to use a plastic or wooden utensil. You wouldn’t want to scratch your non-stick surface would you?

By now, my beef was nicely browned, so spoon it into your sauce. Time to start the pasta! Pasta needs a lot of water and a lot of room to make itself wonderful, so fill a 12 quart stockpot halfway or ¾ of the way full. Drizzle in about a teaspoon of salt in the water and add the spaghetti. As your burner should still be on high from cooking your meat, the water will not take long to boil.

When the pasta is nice and al dente (slightly firm, but not raw, not gummy), slowly drain the pasta into a colander. You are working with a lot of hot water, so I cannot stress “slowly” enough. I know you’re hungry, but a burn isn’t worth it, trust me.

When your water has been drained and your pasta is safe in the colander, drizzle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or butter.

Tasty Tips for this recipe:

Sauce does not great pasta make! While the pasta is cooking, lightly toss in the water, do not stir. You want long, slurpable noodles, not broken bits of pasta. Pasta needs patience and love.

For the sauce, do not just season and top with a lid. Remember what you learned in Goodfellas? Gotta keep stirrin’ that sauce. You don’t have to stir it constantly, but every couple minutes or so. Find a rhythm and stir with it.

Happy cooking and happy eating!

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