Today was a pasta kind of day. You know those days. It was rainy all morning and wet and even though it cleared up this afternoon, it just seemed like a day that was destined for noodles covered in sauce wearing some sort of delicious cheese. We have pasta pretty often, though, and I wanted something not quite the same as the usual linguine or rigatoni with meatballs or meat sauce with ground beef. So we went with a variation on the theme with a more traditional ragù. Sometimes ragù is known as bolognese sauce, although traditional bolognese is made somewhat differently (served with tagliatelle or green lasagna and containing beef (sometimes pork or lamb), pancetta, onions, carrots, tomato paste, broth, red wine and sometimes cream or milk) and comes from Bologna, Italy.
So what did I do?
I went shopping. I had to. We were actually almost entirely out of pasta, which is very rare for us. So on the way home from work, Josh and I headed to Busch’s and picked up a package of beef stew meat (I would have used a cheap cut of shoulder and chopped it up myself, but there were none), a can of crushed tomatoes, onions, a bag of shell pasta (conchiglie) and a small block of parmesan. Including the cost of the pizza dough from yesterday to make garlic bread with, the entire dinner worked out to about $10 not including spices. Woot!
Now, generally I can make a pasta dinner for the two of us in a half hour. Tonight it was an hour and a half, and most of that was simmering the sauce to cook the stew meat long enough to let it start to melt into the sauce. I’m a big fan of packaged beef stew meat for slowcooked meals. It’s cheap, it’s delicious when properly seasoned, it responds well to long cooking times and hey, who doesn’t love the iron and the protein? Vegetarians, that’s who. Continue reading