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[personal profile] rockwood
I like tomato sauce for pasta (among other sauces), but I always feel it's not really a solid meal unless it's a thick tomato sauce---usually one with ground beef or turkey---rather than a thin marinara type.

Now, I'm not vegetarian myself, but I like to cook for one in particular, so this posed a bit of a conundrum. More so, since beyond just being less tasty, a thin tomato sauce offers zilch in the way of protein.  Fortunately, a little bit of experimentation with myself as the guinea pig has proven that Morningstar Farms brand 'griller' crumbles make an acceptable substitute, at least as far as I can tell.

Here's tonight's version:
Dice a medium or large sweet onion. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a deep frying/sauce pan (I like the ones with vertical sides, rather than the bowl-shaped ones) over medium-high heat; add in 3 cloves of mashed/pressed/diced garlic and 2 bay leaves, and stir gently until the bay leaves start to brown. Add the onion, and cook until the onion is gone mostly transparent and JUST starting to fry, stirring constantly. This can take a bit.

Then add 3 teaspoons of dried basil, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, and a little more oil if it's going dry. Mix thoroughly, and then add one 12oz package of the Morningstar crumbles and mix again. The crumbles should cook/thaw pretty fast; as they start to, reduce the heat to medium. After stirring for about 2-3 minutes, dump in one jar of your tomato sauce of choice (I recommend a basil or olive oil & garlic variety). Grind some peppercorn into the mix, about five or six twists of a hand grinder or similar, and 3-5 tablespoons of grated parmesean cheese, and mix everything thoroughly. Let it continue cooking until it's as thick as you prefer, and serve on a pasta of your choice.

Came out quite well, though if you don't let the crumbles cook long enough they can be a bit chewy.

Blessed be,
~Nathan

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-05 11:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moon-chylde.livejournal.com
I make a sauce similar to that except I also add sliced fresh mushrooms, bell pepper (saute with the onion), and sometimes ripe olives.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leeflower.livejournal.com
"I approve of your plan and wish to subscribe to your newsletter," as the kids are saying these days.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garrettplc.livejournal.com
I thought you weren't a fan of mushrooms, peppers, and olives? Well, that does expand options a bit, if you like any of those three... though sometimes olives are a bit strong for me, the other two are part of my normal vegetable base for EVERYTHING.

Seriously. I wind up putting an onion, a pepper, and some mushrooms in almost everything I cook for myself.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leeflower.livejournal.com
Mushrooms= NOM. Mushrooms as a substitute for protein= uh, I can has real food, please? In short, I enjoy the taste, but do not consider them substantial.

I like bell peppers, but tend to avoid them because they're nightshades. But if I'm eating tomato sauce, I'm fairly boned on that point already. I've never had a reaction to mild peppers or tomatoes though.

Olives: sometimes I'm in an olive kind of mood, and sometimes I'm like "yuck, olives." This seems to track fairly closely with how fresh the olives in question are.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garrettplc.livejournal.com
ooooo---ok, I now like cooking for you even MORE.

;-)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leeflower.livejournal.com
haha. Well, I like being cooked for, and I appreciate the effort.

I'm really not that picky an eater, honest. I like fresh veggies, good cheeses, and whole grains. It's mostly just Things What I Has Reactions To that I don't really eat much.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garrettplc.livejournal.com
Fair enough. I just seem to recall you not liking mushrooms for some reason...dunno why, since I actually now remember frequently buying mushrooms with you. Brains, they do not work!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leeflower.livejournal.com
nomnomnom mushrooms.

Did you know that portabello mushrooms are just button mushrooms that have been permitted to hugify? True story.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garrettplc.livejournal.com
I did not, in fact, know that. Interesting.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leeflower.livejournal.com
MMMM Pasta.

I love a good tomato sauce on my pasta, but I eat it only rarely for the reasons you listed. I want a nice, chunky sauce with some real food in it. Nutritionally, marinara on white pasta is like eating jelly on wonder-bread.

I'm trying to remember if it's Classico or Newman's Own that has the yummy chunky tomato kind. The chunks, I likes them.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moon-chylde.livejournal.com
I agree with the chunks too. I use Classico myself sometimes. And if you want real food with some guts to it use whole wheat pasta.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garrettplc.livejournal.com
I stick with whole wheat these days, but it takes some getting used to; the flavor and texture is slightly different.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moon-chylde.livejournal.com
I did too but I came to like the extra chewyness to it. Same with brown rice rather than white.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leeflower.livejournal.com
oh, definitely. I'm always on the prowl for good whole-wheat pastas that soften up well when cooked (I'm not a fan of chewy pasta). Plus, it's all heart-healthy and stuff.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moon-chylde.livejournal.com
I like it a little chewy. I'd rather have that than gloopy moosh.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leeflower.livejournal.com
oh, I love me some moosh. It's terribly unsophisticated, I know, but if I can't be a toddler about my spaghetti, the experience is diminished.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moon-chylde.livejournal.com
LOL

You're funny. I'd like to friend you but only if you friend me back. I'm a little anal about that.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garrettplc.livejournal.com
While I tend to like pasta al dente like moon_chylde, I have managed to locate one brand of whole wheat I should demo for you if we try this recipe; it cooks up to taste/feel like standard pasta, to the point where I can't really tell the difference. It's all imported from Italy, though, so perhaps that's not surprising....

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leeflower.livejournal.com
oooh, sounds good. Though imported stuff is probably super expensive. I think we should work out a cooking system that will allow us both to achieve pasta mission success.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garrettplc.livejournal.com
Agreed. I'm working on finding a brand that can be cooked into softness easily enough; it's really not hard, it just takes some practice to get the cooking time right (since there IS a point beyond which it all comes apart into one mass :-P )

And yeah, the imported stuff is comparatively expensive. I should check by exactly how much, though.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 04:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fionn320.livejournal.com
If you have a Trader Joe's in your area, they have organic whole wheat pasta for about a dollar a pound. We mostly use the penne and rotelli, but use the spaghetti from time to time. It's got a good texture and flavor.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-11-06 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garrettplc.livejournal.com
Some of the Newman's Own does have chunks, but if you actually DO like all those vegetables & stuff, I'd just as soon concoct the base entirely from scratch, too (a jar of tomato paste, some diced tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil). Not really necessary, I know, but sometimes it's fun.

And you can always just add diced tomatoes to the jar of premade sauce to encourage more chunkiness. That's what we usually do around here, since it's halfway between truly homemade and lazy :-)

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