Welcome to Gouramanda! My hope for this blog is for those who come across it to be inspired by the dishes I bring to the “table”. Cooking is a true passion of mine, and I delight in feeding those I love. I hope the same goes (or will go) for you! But don’t let the name intimidate you! I do not consider myself a gourmet cook. In fact, I am completely self-taught, so I am always learning new techniques and playing around with flavors, textures, etc. To me, the mark of a good cook is never lacking creativity and passion, because without that, the food just won’t taste as good! So, without further ado…my first recipe!
This bolognese (meat sauce) is an easy, hearty recipe for any occasion or time of year. It can be served over whatever pasta you have on hand and is sure to be a crowd pleaser, for kids and grown-ups alike.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb (ish) lean ground beef (preferably grass fed and organic)...also good with bison, venison
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry sage (preferably rubbed)
- 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dry oregano'
- 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1 package noodles (I prefer egg or spaghetti noodles, or gluten free noodles)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil (for garnish)
- In a large skillet or wok, sauté shallots, carrots and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until soft (about 4-5 minutes). Add in beef and sauté until brown (about 3-4 minutes). Over medium heat now, add fennel seed, red pepper, herbs (minus fresh basil), tomatoes, tomato paste and salt. Let simmer over low heat for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. When straining pasta, reserve ½ cup pasta water and add to bolognese sauce. (This is one of the best tricks I've ever learned for pasta sauces...It thins it out a little and the starchiness helps bind the flavors!)
- Top hot pasta (egg noodles pictured) with a generous heaping of sauce, parmesan, and basil!