I can never make whatever it is that I had planned for dinner. It’s probably the reason that I went to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods 5 times a week when I was living in New York. My excuse was that I couldn’t carry weekly groceries home in one trip. But I’m a liar. If I get a hankering for a meal, I just want to make it right away, even if it means an extra trip to the store for me (or my poor husband who humors me far too often).
Tuesday night I had homemade burgers and oven fries planned, but ended up with a sort of pasta and meat sauce instead. I happened to have a TON of mushrooms on hand of all sorts — portobello, shitake, oyster. I wanted to make a tomat0-based sauce that was earthy and rich, something that would stand up to the ground beef. First, I sauteed the mushrooms with some butter and red wine. Then I browned the meat and added fresh garlic and whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes. In order to get that smoky flavor I was after, I added 2 bags of Lapsang Suchon tea. To add some kick, I also threw in about 2 teaspoons of New Mexico chile pepper powder. I only had Whole Wheat Lasagne, so I broke it into smaller pieces for the pasta. The result was a really hearty dinner that was much too heavy for a tropical summer, but was delicious anyway.
Recipe after the jump.
Pasta with Tea-Infused Beef Sauce
2 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup red wine
3/4 to 1 lb. of mushrooms (portobello, shitake, oyster)
About 1 – 1.25 lbs. extra lean ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 very large can of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
splash of red wine
1 – 2 tsp. New Mexico Chili Pepper powder, or any pure chile powder (optional)
1 lb. hearty pasta like whole wheat Penne or Rigatoni
salt and pepper to taste
Freshly ground Parmesan cheese
Set a large pot filled with water over high heat to boil. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms and the wine and cook down until mushrooms are cooked through, but still firm. Remove mushrooms to a bowl.
In the same pot, begin browning the garlic and then the meat. Once the meat is half cooked, throw in the tomatoes. Break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon, stirring the mixture continuously. Once the beef is fully cooked (about 10 minutes), add the tea and the splash of red wine. Turn down the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and add salt to desired taste. Mix in the mushrooms and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta to just before al dente. Drain and toss with the sauce. Serve hot and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.