I had a craving for bolognese sauce tonight, something I rarely eat, but when I do, it's so satisfying and tasty. This recipe combines my toddler-fooling veggie puree with roasted garlic and red bell pepper to make a reasonably healthy and flavor-packed meat sauce.
1 lb ground chuck or sirloin
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I like Classico sweet basil)
2/3 cup veggie puree
2 red bell peppers
3 cloves garlic
spray olive oil
1/4 cup red wine (syrah is nice)
1 small can tomato paste
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
salt & black pepper to taste
1/2 box elbow noodles, cooked according to pkg directions
On a cookie sheet, place peeled garlic cloves, and halved and seeded peppers with the skin side up. Spray liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle a bit of salt on top. Broil about 5 minutes, watching carefully. The pepper skins should blister and get a bit blackened, but not totally charred. The garlic will brown deeply. Remove from oven and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel skin from peppers -- it should come off easily. Then chop the pepper into 1/2 inch pieces, and mince the garlic. Refrigeration will help the garlic to solidify enough to allow chopping -- if it's too warm it's still mushy. But mushy is ok too.
Next, break up the meat into a deep saute pan. The one I use has sides that are about 3 inches high and is about 10 inches wide, which is a perfect size for thick sauces like spaghetti sauce. Brown the meat in its own fat until no pink is left. While sauteing, add the wine, and sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper, then add the roasted garlic and red bell pepper.
When all ingredients are hot, add the veggie puree and the jar of spaghetti sauce. When all that is incorporated, add the tomato paste, the crushed red pepper and stir until fully incorporated. Simmer, letting all flavors meld, about 5-10 minutes. If the sauce is too dry for your taste, add a bit of water.
Ladle out over pasta of your choice and serve with grated parmesan cheese and more of the red wine. Voila!