It's the season of being cozy and comfort foods reign supreme at this time of year. For my boys, this equates to pasta. Some kids like pizza, hamburgers, and even French fries to soothe their soul, but for them it's all about the pasta.
Our pasta recipe has evolved over the years, just like them. It began years ago with ditalini noodles and grated parmesan cheese and matured ever so slightly to include green peas and diced ham. Eventually we upgraded to tomato sauce, then bolognese and finally a vegetable-flecked meat sauce topped with torn bocconcini. While it sounds incredibly sophisticated it's nothing more than what's known as Pasta a la Mama in our house.
This recipe freezes brilliantly, and while it does require more than an hour's worth of simmering, it's not exactly hands-on time which means you can help with homework, answer burning questions related to all things growing-up or maybe even talk to your husband about your day. I'm more inclined to make a big pot of this on a Saturday or Sunday morning and then we have it ready to eat during the week.
Pasta a la Mama
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground turkey or beef
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tin crushed tomatoes (or 5 medium tomatoes diced and pureed)
- 3 large handfuls baby spinach, chopped
- 4 bocconcini balls
- Spaghetti or linguini, cooked al dente
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over med-high heat and cook the onions until they are translucent and slightly browned. Stir in the garlic, then add the meat, cinnamon sticks, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and rosemary. Sautee for 8-10 minutes until the meat is browned.
Add the wine and cook for five minutes or until it begins to evaporate. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes longer. Add 1/3 cup of water, stir it in completely, and allow to simmer for 60 minutes or so until the sauce has thickened.
Add the spinach and cook until slightly wilted. Serve over cooked pasta and top with torn bocconcini.