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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Italian Meat Sauce With Half the Meat

Martha Rose Shulman  
  Time 30 to 35 minutes 
 Yield 3 cups, or enough for 9 pasta servings 

It’s been a long time since I have made tomato sauce with meat, and this one transported me back to the first recipe I learned to make. I called it spaghetti sauce, and it was a simple tomato sauce with ground beef. It didn’t taste that much different from this sauce, which has only a quarter pound of meat in it – but that is all it needs to have a rich flavor and a meaty texture. The mushroom base is a perfect stand-in for half the meat; you could double the amount for a vegetarian sauce.

Featured in: Cutting Out The Meat With Mushrooms.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ yellow or red onion, finely chopped
2 plump garlic cloves, minced
¼ pound ground beef or veal
 Pinch of ground cinnamon
 Salt to taste
 freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ pound (about 2/3 cups) roasted mushroom mix
1 28-ounce can plus 1 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice, pulsed in a food processor
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1. In a large, deep skillet or casserole heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and turn heat up to medium-high. Add ground beef or veal and brown for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add cinnamon and season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Stir in roasted mushroom mix, tomatoes, sugar, oregano and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a rapid bubble over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to medium, cover partially if sauce is spluttering too much, and simmer, stirring often, until thick and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with pasta, figuring on 1/3 cup per 3-ounce serving.
The sauce will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and freezes well.

Nutritional information per 1/3 cup serving
75 calories; 3 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 7 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 26 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 4 grams protein


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