Friday, August 20, 2010

Cooking Allergen Free - Pasta Recipe

Cooking for kids + cooking for a medium sized family + cooking for children with food allergies.  It's a challenge!  It really is.  But every once in a while I hit a home run.

We'll call this dinner the "Tired of traditional spaghetti and meat sauce" pasta dish with homemade sauce.  It was so good!  You can find dairy-free, wheat-free sauce at the store.  I usually stock up on Classico from Costco.  (I *think* it is also corn-free, but don't quote me on that.  Jack outgrew his corn intolerance sometime ago and I don't pay as much attention these days.)  But sometimes only homemade sauce will really hit the spot.  I found mild breakfast sausage on sale at Whole Foods the day before, so we used that in our meat sauce.  I'm thankful to have resources like Whole Foods nearby where I can pick up grain-free, nitrate-free, dairy free sausages for occasional dinners like this.

And my typical disclaimers - *I am too impatient to accurately measure anything.  Soooooo.  Keep that in mind.  Season your food to taste!  And as for salt, only use the best.  Real Salt is my favorite.  Yes, it makes a different.  I even keep a small shaker for traveling because it tastes so much better than the super-processed white stuff.  Try something new!  Real Salt is not expensive, is available at many typical grocery stores, tastes better, AND actually contains real minerals.   Skip that processed white stuff.  I think I'm going to buy a pack to add into everyone's stockings.  My family already thinks I'm out there on this health stuff.  What's a little more ammunition? ;-) ** I'm sure this is not an original idea on a pasta dish.  Please know that I'm not claiming that.  LOL It's just what we threw into a pot and called Yum!

Notes about the pasta - use what you can.  I've made this with whole wheat pasta and with rice pasta.  It works both ways.  My favorite rice pasta is Tinkyada; Jack's favorite is Schar brand.  Our HyVee carries both.

On to the recipe:

"Tired of traditional spaghetti and meat sauce" pasta dish

1 - 1.5 pounds mild sausage (but hey - go for the spicy stuff if you like it.)
1 medium vidalia onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp italian seasoning (basil and oregano)
a little extra fresh basil if you have it.
14 oz jar stewed tomatoes
20 oz jar diced tomatoes
2 tsp brown sugar - to taste
fresh ground pepper - to taste

Pasta of choice - about 12 ounces dry pasta

1) Brown the sausage for a few minutes.  Add in the chopped onion and finish browning.  Drain excess fat if needed.  (The sausage I use is very lean; no draining necessary.)
2)  Add salt, garlic, seasoning and stir.
3) Add tomatoes, brown sugar, and fresh ground pepper.  Stir and let gently simmer.
4) Prepare pasta according to directions, but with only enough water to just barely cover the noodles.  AND cut the cooking time in half.  So if the pasta is to cook for 12 minutes (Tinkyada or whole wheat), only cook for 6 minutes.  If it is to cook for 5 min (Schar), only let it cook for 2-3 min.  Remove from heat, pour off half of the pasta cooking water, then add the pasta and remaining water to the meat sauce.  Stir, cover tightly, and finish cooking on low heat for 5-10 minutes.  Now it's ready to serve!  Be sure a taste first and season again with salt and pepper, if needed.

This will serve my family of 6 for 2 meals.  Or approximately 6-7 adult-sized servings.

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