For my boys, comfort food equals pasta. Some like pizza or hamburgers or even fries, but pasta is their go-to favourite when I ask "What would you like for dinner".
The pasta recipe in question has evolved over the years. It began with some ditalini noodles and grated parmesan cheese, then we added peas and ham and eventually upgraded to tomato sauce, tomato sauce with meat and finally tomato sauce with meat and spinach. Regardless of what variation of pasta the boys have eaten, we've always called it "Pasta a la Mama", simply because it's my version of a homemade pasta dish for them.
This recipe was inspired by one of my very favourite cookbooks, Apples for Jam, where the author simmered her meat sauce with a cinnamon stick. The first time I tried this my first thought was "Brilliant!" - it added so much flavour and depth to the dish. I have modified the recipe over the past two years to make it more suited to the boys tastes and now it includes spinach and some bocconcini cheese - so yummy!
Happy weekend friends....enjoy the weather, your families and all the good food I hope you eat!
Pasta a la Mama, inspired by Apples for Jam
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey or beef
2 cinnamon sticks
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp 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. 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 spaghetti or linguine and top with some torn bocconcini.