When the heat wave hit Portland (high 90′s) I decided I wanted to get one of those plastic kiddy pools for Bella. I searched everywhere and couldn’t find anything! I ended up going to 5 different stores and they were all sold out (or only had the inflatable pools that Bella would pop in one second).
One evening I was driving home from work through Sellwood and spotted a pool outside a hardware store. I immediately pulled over and ended up buying the last pool they had! It BARELY fit in my car. I was so excited! I took it home and couldn’t wait for Bella to frolic in the pool and cool down.
Yeah, I apparently just bought a giant water dish. That above photo is Bella drinking out of her pool. We keep trying to get her to play in it but she won’t. I don’t get it. It’s almost 100 degrees out and you’d think she’d love it. I sent a video of her drinking out of it to her foster mom, Jen. She promptly sent me a picture from last summer when Bella played in her pool! So I know she likes them, why won’t she get in our pool?!?
Maybe by the end of summer she’ll be into the pool. Anyways, on to dinner.
Despite it being a hot summer day and a cold salad or seafood would have been more appropriate, I was craving homemade marinara sauce and gnocchi. When I got home from work I started to simmer the sauce immediately. I added some fresh oregano and rosemary from my garden, too, with a splash of red wine. While the sauce was simmering, Michael and I took Bella for a long walk. It was stifling outside.
When we got back from the walk I cooked the beef with a chopped up onion and added that to the sauce. The recipe called for it to simmer for about 2 hours, or longer, and I’d say it cooked for about 1.5 hours before we ended up eating. Here is the recipe for the sauce:
- 1 lb. 80/20 ground beef OR 90/10 ground beef
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 6 oz. water
- 1 24 oz. jar tomato puree
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- Pinch of dried oregano
- Pinch of onion powder
- Pinch of garlic powder
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large stockpot, saute garlic until soft and fragrant in 2 tbsp. of olive oil, about 2 minutes.
- Throw your meat in with the garlic and brown until meat has been thoroughly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the tomato paste, tomato puree, and seasoning, including the fresh basil. Stir to mix well. With the 6 oz. can from the tomato paste, fill that with water and pour it in the stockpot as well.
- Let mixture simmer, uncovered, for 2 or more hours (the longer the better, but minimum 2 hours), stirring occasionally.
- Serve hot over fresh pasta.
While I liked the sauce a lot (it was thick and creamy), it could have used some more garlic and maybe some more salt. Other than that I enjoyed it. I made some gluten free spaghetti for Michael and I had gnocchi from Trader Joe’s (I love that stuff).
While everything was finishing up I made a salad and dressing from scratch. I know that’s not a big deal but I rarely make my own dressing and I really want to try and do this more often. It’s pretty easy and you can make it any way you want, really.
I mixed up this dressing, using a Pomegranate balsamic in the recipe. It made enough for both of us to have a salad and there’s some leftover for maybe two more salads. Here is the recipe:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup balsamic
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon sugar or agave
- 1 Teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- Combine all ingredients in a tightly closed bottle and shake thoroughly. Shake before each use.
Salad was greens, grape tomatoes and orange peppers. I loved the dressing. It was mild and delicious. I’m definitely going to experiment with more homemade dressings. I found a few that sounded really good on Pinterest using Greek yogurt as a base.
Dinner was served! I topped the sauce with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I love gnocchi. I’m not a huge pasta eater but gnocchi is fantastic! (One of these days I will try and make my own…) I opened a bottle of Claret wine to go with dinner and it a nice combination.
There was enough pasta sauce leftover that I have enough for some leftovers and then I froze the rest for another evening when I crave this but don’t have 2 hours in me to cook…
What is your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe?