Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cooking up a storm

Beef ragu

So with my cube steak that I had sitting waiting, I whipped up a little ragu. At least, I guess that's what you'd call it. Chopped an onion really chunkily, added a clove of Australian garlic (it's stronger than the foreign sort)and a slice of chucky chopped bacon and threw in the meat. Seasoned it with a hefty sprinkle of Season-All and about 1 teaspoon of curry powder. Added a can of diced tomatoes and a few bay leaves, and then thickened it up with some gravy powder. Smelt really good actually.

Then I made my family's favourite pasta sauce. It lends very well to freezing, and cokking straight from frozen with little advance warning, so it's a great standby to have. I made a double batch, with two lots of mince, but I'll give the recipe for a single batch, and you can double it, or adjust as you see fit.

Pasta sauce

SilverMoon's Pasta Sauce (Serves 4)
400g mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic, depending on size, strength, and love of garlic, chopped to preference
1 finely chopped short cut rindless rasher of bacon
1 medium sized zucchini, diced
5 or 6 (or 8, if you have that many) mushrooms, diced or sliced to your preference
1 can diced, peeled, tomatoes
1/2 jar pasta sauce or 3 tbsp tomato paste & 3 tbsp water (that the pasta cooked in if possible)

Melt a little butter in a large pan - not too much, but just enough to stop the bacon sticking to the pan. When pan is hot (don't burn the butter!) add the onion, garlic, bacon and zucchini, and stirring constantly, fry until golden. You can add the mushrooms at this point too, to get a lovely golden colour, but you'll need more butter, and I prefer to add them after the mince to soak up all those lovely pan juices. Clear a space in the pan directly above the flame, or where ever your pan is hottest, and add the mince, making sure to break it into small bits. Give it a bit of colour, then stir through the vegies, so nothing burns. Now add your mushrooms, as the meat will be starting to let off a lot of juices, and you don't really want this to be stewing just yet. Then add your tomatoes and sauce, and any seasonings, like rosemary, thyme, freshly ground salt and pepper, Season-All (yeah, I put that in everything lol). Let the lot simmer till you get your preferred consistency, or thicken with a little bit of gravy powder, or add more tomato paste if you used that/have any.

Serve over pasta, or let cool completely, then place in freezable containers/zip-loc bags and freeze. Tasty!