Pasta with Sauce - Tomato
When I had orthorexia, pasta used to be a fear food for me. I used to think "aren't refined carbs bad for you?" When I did eat pasta, I'd drown it in vegetables. I have posted pasta and pasta sauce recipes (one pot Italian pasta, tortellini with tomato sauce, eggless pasta, and 3 ingredient tomato sauce), but what you don't see is that I didn't eat much of the pasta I cooked.
Fortunately, my ED is dead, and I can happily eat pasta now. You can make pasta with sauce a more balanced, flavorful, and texturally interesting meal by adding more ingredients: vegetables (onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms) and ground beef.
- 1 box (1 pound) of pasta - cook half
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 pound of ground beef
- ½ large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 big bell pepper or 2 small peppers
- 1 box (8 ounces) of mushrooms
- 1 jar (1.5 pounds) of tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
- Boil a lot of water in a large pot. This will be for the pasta, but don't add pasta yet.
- Dice onion, peppers, mushrooms for the tomato sauce.
- In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add the ground beef, and cook until not pink.
- When the beef is brown and not pink, transfer beef into large bowl.
- Drain off the excess grease from the beef. This prevents an oily sauce.
- Add onion and garlic to pan, and cook until light brown.
- Add peppers and mushrooms to pan, and cook until almost done (visual indicator: mushrooms look mostly shriveled).
- The sauce is almost done, so add pasta to the large pot of boiling water. Set a timer for the pasta.
- Back to the sauce in the large pan: add tomato sauce and drained, cooked beef to the sauce. Stir. Taste sauce - I added butter. The sauce is done.
- When pasta timer goes off, taste a piece of pasta. If done, drain pasta. Else, cook more.
- Eat pasta with sauce. I eat leftovers within a week.
Recipe Graph Recipes Notes
- Vegetarian? Leave out the beef.
- Serving suggestion: add cheese or fresh basil/parsley.
General cooking tip: Salt and fat make food tasty.
- Salt as you go. Aggressively salt the pasta cooking water. Pasta sauce salt content varies, so use a bit more restraint. I salted the ground beef as it cooked.
- Finish tomato sauce with a bit of dairy. Examples: 1 tablespoon of butter, a splash of heavy cream or half and half. Dairy balances the acidity of the tomatoes, and a pinch of sugar dulls it.
Here's a picture of exactly what ingredients I used:
- For pasta, I used mini wheels (it's such a fun shape!). I cooked the whole box. This was too much, and I should've cooked half.
- For ground beef, I arbitrarily found a 1 pound pack of Kobe beef. Ground pork, turkey, or chicken would also work well.
- For garlic, I used ~2 teaspoons of freeze-dried garlic because peeling and mincing garlic is annoying.
- For peppers, I used 1 yellow chili pepper and 1 Anaheim pepper because they're so cute.
- For mushrooms, I arbitrarily grabbed around 2 handfuls of bulk, loose mushrooms.
- For tomato sauce, I arbitrarily grabbed a jar without added sugar.
Here's what the finished sauce looks like. Kinda like cat food? This would look more appetizing if I took the picture during the day with natural light instead of at night with orange kitchen lighting.
How much food does this make? 7 full meals of pasta with sauce. I ate one and put 6 in the fridge for later. I also ended up with a full Tupperware of just pasta since I mistakenly cooked the whole box of pasta (instead of half), and I like a high sauce to pasta ratio. I own this Tupperware.
I don't calculate nutrition facts for meals. I used to have orthorexia, and I oppose unnecessary tracking of calorie counts. My rule of thumb is I eat ~2 cups (visually, about 2 fistfuls) at meals.
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