The Italian Job

As much as I hate to admit it, spaghetti Bolognese is a staple in my “feed family fast” file—and that means using canned tomato sauce or tomato sauce in a jar. There are a few very good ones, and some downright bad ones, but through trial-and-error my family likes Newman’s Own and Fra Divolio. You also need to look on the label for sodium content —it’s surprising how much is in tomato sauce. To make your own sauce, the easiest and best recipe is this one that came by way of a friend and I think is loosely adapted from a Marcella Hazan recipe. We make this a lot and I pair it with mix-and-match salad ingredients that I keep on hand.
I personally like to put the sauce right on my salad and skip the pasta—not because I’m a carb hater, I just like it like that!

RECIPE
Sauce
1/2 cup yellow onions, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 tblsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground round beef
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 cup white wine
1 10 oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
1 bay leaf
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup milk
Fresh basil, chopped
Parmesan cheese

Sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil on medium-high heat until soft. Add meat and garlic and mix until cooked. Deglaze with wine on high heat, add tomatoes, bay leaf and some black pepper. Add milk, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with fresh cooked pasta of your choice (we like fettucine) and some chopped fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.

Mix-and-Match Salad
Choose one from each row
Romaine | Arugula | Baby Greens
Tomatoes | Cherries | Avocado
Feta Cheese | Goat Cheese | Parmesan Cheese

Basic Balsamic
(for all salads)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. honey (you can add more to desired sweetness)
2/3 cup olive oil

Mix salt, vinegar, mustard and honey, then in a steady stream, whisk olive oil. (Can be stored for one week.) Makes just over a cup. •