Welcome to the first post of my Back to Basics series! I want to go right back to the basics of cooking and baking here. No fancy or outrageous creations, just simple and family friendly food.
It seems fitting to kick off with the very first meal I made after moving out of home – Beef and Tomato Pasta Sauce I remember how nervous I was making this on my own for the first time. My Mum had written out the ingredients and instructions and I followed them to the letter. This is really a no fail recipe, and my first cooking attempt outside the comfort and security of Mum’s kitchen was a success. I can even remember excitedly calling her the next morning to let her know it had all gone well.
This Beef and Tomato Pasta Sauce base is a regular in our house. It’s ingredients change depending on what is in the fridge, pantry and even freezer. I use it when making Lasagna, Pasta Bakes or served simply with a heap of steaming hot pasta.
This is the recipe I normally use, however feel free to add/omit any ingredients if you wish. If you want to turn this into a pasta bake, combine the sauce and cooked, drained pasta in a oven safe container. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of tasty cheese and bake in a 180 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown.
Beef and Tomato Pasta - Back to Basics
- 500 g beef mince
- 1 brown onion - finely diced
- 2 carrots - grated
- 2 stalks of celery - finely chopped
- 4 button mushrooms - finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves - crushed
- 4 slices of rindless bacon - diced
- 1 jar of tomato based pasta sauce - you can use whichever brand/flavour your prefer
- 1 tin of crushed tomatoes - I normally use one that has added herbs
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- A pinch of sugar
- 400 g dried spiral pasta - you can use any type of pasta though!
- 1/2 cup of grated cheese either tasty or parmesan to serve
- Prepare vegetables as above and set aside until needed.
- In a large saucepan over a medium high heat, add a dash of olive oil and then add the bacon, onion and crushed garlic. Stir and cook for 2 -3 minutes until the onion starts to become translucent.
- Add the mince and using a wooden spoon, break up into small pieces - you don't want any lumps. Reduce to a medium heat and cook for approximately 5 minutes before adding the carrot and celery. Stir and cook for a further 3 - 4minutes or until the mince has browned and cooked through.
- Add the jar of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, extra herbs, mushrooms and a pinch of sugar. Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook the pasta in a separate saucepan as per packet instructions.
- Remove lid from saucepan and reduce the heat to medium/low. Allow sauce to continue cooking for another 15 minutes, stir occasionally.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add to the sauce. Gently combine pasta and sauce, remove from heat and you are ready to serve!
Thank you to everyone who suggested recipes for this series over on Facebook. If there is something you would like me to make as part of this series, please contact me via email at [email protected] or on Facebook