Saturday, October 4, 2014

All Time Favorite Penne with Meat Sauce

Originally this recipe was my grandma's, then passed down to my mom and aunt, and then to me. We all make different variations of grandma's recipe. Without a doubt this is my favorite dish to eat in the whole world. Really. We all already know my love for pasta runs deep. Give me all the pasta! Put cheese on it. Smother it in alfredo. Above all else cover it in this deeply flavorful meat sauce.

Each generation has altered this recipe slightly to their preference. My alterations include red wine and a chunkier vegetable meat sauce. Red wine increases the richness of any good tomato sauce. The additions of carrot and celery provide excellent texture.

 Did I mention how much I love this pasta? If you were to invite me to a dinner at a nice restaurant, I may very well turn you down if this pasta was on the table. Don't take offense. This pasta just really satisfies my soul. The dish is nothing fancy but it is so comforting. Perfect for cooler weather with a rather large glass of red wine. 

All Time Favorite Penne with Meat Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
16 ounces of penne, cooked
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2  medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3/4 ground beef (buffalo is good here too)
1 cup red wine
1 large can diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
3 tablespoons tomato paste 
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (we do 1 teaspoon but we like the heat)
1 teaspoon italian seasoning 
Parmesan for serving

Bring your pasta water to a boil. Salt it. Cook the according to the package directions.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and the onion. Cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened, 6-7 minutes. Add your beef and saute until cooked through stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes. 

Pour in wine and let simmer until reduced by half. Once the wine has reduced, add in your diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add your salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning. Stir to combine. At this point turn heat to low and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. You can simmer it for up to an hour. A longer simmer improves the flavor even more. 

Serve over the penne with a healthy pinch of parmesan. 

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