Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tomato Meat Sauce over Cheese Tortellini

This looked so yummy when I saw it on my friend Lauren's blog.  I don't make a meat sauce very often and didn't realize how much I would like it!  And I loved the idea of putting it over the cheese tortellini!  I used the remainder I had from making my cheese tortellini and veggie soup so I didn't have enought, but I just added in whole wheat spagetti with the tortellini.  I also took Lauren's advise to make it with ground turkey and couldn't even taste the difference.  It was so good!

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cans (28  ounces each) crushed tomatoes
15-20 leaves fresh basil, roughly cut or torn  (I actually didn't have fresh herbs so I just used dried)
2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped from stem and chopped
A handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
tablespoon sugar

Italian seasoning to taste (basil, oregano, garlic, rosemary)
Ground beef or ground turkey (I prefer ground turkey because it's healthier, cheaper, and tastes pretty much the same when mixed in a sauce or other dish.)

One onion

Combine olive oil, minced garlic and red pepper flakes in a saucepan. When the garlic sizzles add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and seasoning as desired. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and allow the sauce to simmer while you work on the meat.
Place ground beef or turkey on a skilled over medium to high heat with diced onion. Use a spatula or turner to turn meat and break it apart as it cooks. If you use the lean ground turkey, the juices will run clear and then be reabsorbed as the meat browns and finishes cooking. With ground beef you may need to drain the meat of its fat and juices after it's finished cooking. Paper towel or a strainer will work just fine.
Add the cooked meat to the sauce, stirring it together well. Allow the meat sauce to simmer for at least ten minutes to absorb all the flavors. The longer you let them simmer together the richer the sauce will take and more it will thicken.
When you're about read for dinner place the tortellini - or any pasta you'd like - in a pot of salted boiling water. The tortellini cooks fast! Less than five minutes.
Place tortellini in a shallow bowl and top with sauce. Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!

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