spaghetti and meat sauce (aka ode to my kitchen aid)
It’s funny. I like autumn—the crisp air which makes any outside activity much more enjoyable than it was a few weeks ago when you would boil in the sun before your hike/bike ride/patio beers even began, the beautiful colors everywhere, and the disappearance of the suffocating layer of smoke that blanketed the valley for the last couple months (my lungs no longer hate me when I go for a run). But this time of year always makes me sad. The care-free summer has slipped away and as I watch my world prepare to hibernate, I can’t help but sense how quickly time is passing and how unsure I am about what I want my life to become. What I do know is that I need a new creative outlet to focus my energy on—this has been sorely lacking in my life for a year now!—and so this blog was born.
To embrace this feeling of fall, I decided to make some ultimate comfort food. Spaghetti and meat sauce consisting of: sauce from garden tomatoes and herbs, spaghetti which I rolled and cut myself, and ground elk that Andy shot and killed with his bow a few weeks ago. I love meals like this where we have not only made everything from scratch, but produced a lot of what is on the table too. It makes me feel…healthy.
Andy and I just picked all of our tomatoes and basically harvested the entire garden. It seemed like most of the tomatoes froze some on the vine (despite my attempt at protecting them with old bed sheets) but I’m keeping the lot with hopes of not having ruined them all. I used the red tomatoes I had as the base of this sauce.
1/2 a medium onion. chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
about 20 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded
scant 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
scant 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup white wine (red can be substituted for a richer flavor)
salt and pepper
1 lb. ground elk (or other meat of your choice), optional
Cook onion in pot with a drizzle of the oil, a few minutes until it begins to look translucent. Add garlic and cook about a minute longer. Add tomatoes, remaining oil, pepper flakes, herbs, and wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir until combined and simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, until sauce has reduced to about half—a few hours. Optional: brown one pound ground elk and add to sauce once it has reached the desired consistency.
LIGHT WHEAT PASTA (Recipe adapted from Kitchen Aid)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
4 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Stir until the dough comes together. Knead for about 4 minutes. Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll out into sheets. I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer attachment for this and it is wonderful. Run dough through each setting, getting thinner gradually, until you reach your desired thickness. Same goes for cutting the spaghetti. I just run my sheets through the cutter and it’s done. Drop pasta into a large pot of boiling water and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Strain, top noodles with sauce and sprinkle with shaved parmesan. I had no idea that homemade pasta could be so easy. Note: this makes a lot of pasta. Most days I cut this recipe in half and we still have leftovers for the week. I halved this recipe for the amount of sauce and the results were perfect. I have also tried freezing remaining raw pasta (after it has been cut) by dusting with some extra semolina flour to prevent sticking and wrapping it in freezer paper, but I have yet to bust it out and try the fresh-frozen pasta. I’ll let you know how it goes.