Alright, I’ll admit I made this dish about 3 months ago. And I had the best intentions of making this blog then but, you know, I didn’t.
First of all I should l probably introduce myself and everything. I’m Liz, also known as Mostly, Biz, Miss… I’m a 23 year old living in Seattle WA with a puppy and a boyfriend.
I make art stuff, my favorite medium being clay followed by paint pens, paint and I don’t much like each other. I’ve been doing mediocre cartoony art since I was in the single digits and I’m rather fond of it. I’ve worked on stuff in waves, trying to find the balance between making stuff that I love and people dig, and being turned into a craft sweat shop. I also take cruddy pictures, but I’d rather stare at the wonderful work of some talented friends.
Then there’s the food part of this blog, you see, I fucking love food.
Grew up in an Italian family with grandparents and a dad who consistently made food better then anything I will ever scorch. So I just make stuff, random ideas and partial recipes, or full blown complicated concoctions found wherever. You’ll see the random staples I’ve found over the years, some tips on how to cook without being a damn chef, some health foods (blah blah getting healthier), and completely unhealthy abominations so tasty you’ll see Jesus.
Uh, what else. Hobbies and stuff, I have a lot of em. seriously. I guess the above two count for that but there’s also flag, fire spinning, harmonica, dance (jazz and that shiz), Starting random projects (adult cub scouts, magazines, etc), trips, traveling, and adventure, violin, hula hooping, swimming, crocheting, random circus acts, sewing, dog training, leather works, blah blah blah. It seriously never ends.
But enough about me, onto the food!
Meaty Pasta with Artichoke Garlic Bread
So let me first say, this is probably the easiest recipe I’ve ever pulled out of my ass ever. Seriously, it was all pretty ready to just be combined and gobbled. Now, while I mostly shop at Trader Joes and all these items are from there, its easy to find very similar items else where (but hey, trader joes really is affordable). This is probably a terrible recipe to start with, as it doesn’t really show a whole lot of ingenuity in cooking. BUT, it does show thought process in combining random shit. I learn how to combine different things by just going for it, and yeah sometimes it sucked. But mostly, you end up with a rad super easy dish you can throw together from random items in your cupboard.
-Pasta, at least 12oz. Spaghetti types will do best, but other substitutions will work as well.
-1 jar of vodka sauce (essentially tomato sauce with a bunch of cream)
-1 can of stewed tomato’s (I used ones with chili’s in it for an extra kick)
-Freshly grated hard Italian cheese. Try something other then Parmesan, like Romano
-1lb of lean ground beef
-Seasoning. I went for salt, white pepper, garlic powder, and a touch of chili powder.
-1 stick of softened butter (leave it out a few hours, or put it near the stove)
-Artichoke Antipasto (if you cant find this, just get some jarred artichoke hearts, drain, and mix and mash with a touch of olive oil)
-Bread, fucking duh. I used pugliese cause its super chewy with a soft yet crunchy shell when baked.
So first, we’re going to dump the tomato’s and sauce together in a large sauce pan, one that leaves half the room after being filled. Mix it up a bit, cover it, and put in on a burner turned on low.
Next, warm up a saute pan big enough to allow the entire pound of meat to lay flat, no higher then 1/2 inch. No dump that sucker into the pan and mash it flat with a wooden spoon/spatula. Once it has started browning on the bottom, flip the meat in sections so the raw can start to simmer.
Now you get to Season! I’ll admit, I don’t measure shit like this when I am cooking. I kind of just go. There are pros and cons, cons being there’s a bit of a learning curve in how much of what you should add. But the pro being you get a different and tasty meal each time. I suggest smelling the spices before adding, and after, to see how everything mingles together. When in doubt, only add a little, you can add more when the meat is done cooking.
After its browned again on the side you just flipped, start to chop it up with your spatula into small pieces to evenly distribute the heat and finish cooking everything. Once its cooked you can taste a little piece (after it cools some) and see if you need to add any more seasoning.
Now, dump that meat into the sauce, stir it up, and cover again keeping on low heat.
Preheat your over to 275
Get a big pot of water, heat it up. You can use about a tablespoon of olive oil or salt, or both, if you want. The salt is to add a little flavor, the olive oil is to help the noodles from sticking and to add some flavor. Chefs will argue the better points of why to add whatever, but ignore them. What feels right to you? now do it.
Once you get the water to a gentle rolling boil, turn down to medium, add your pasta and stir it a little to break the mass of noodles up. Cook according to the package, but test it as you go so you can learn how to cook thru sight and taste. Basically when you bite into it, you should see uniform color thru out. a darker center means its undercooked, slimy outside or falling apart and you over cooked it.
While thats cooking we’re gonna cut the bread in half and slather some soft butter on it.
Now grab the artichoke stuff, and slather that on top of the butter, however much you want.
Top that off with some cheese, throw it in the oven right on the rack, and cook for 10-15 mins.
Your pasta is probably about done, drain it, and let it sit for a minute in the colander. Not only because watery pasta is disgusting and barbaric, but because the sauce wont stick to the noodles.
Pile it on to your plate and garnish with capers if using. Now dump some sauce liberally on top of that, be sure to stir in between scoops so you get plenty of chunks with each serving.
Grab your bread out of the oven, its done when it has a nice bubbly slightly brown crust on top. Let that cool while you throw the rest of the cheese on your pasta and pour a glass of jack (or water, for normal people).
Then cut up the bread and eat it all with your face.
-I use lean meat as it doesn’t make the sauce soupy and greasy. Contrary to popular belief, more fat doesn’t always mean more flavor. There is plenty of flavor in this dish without wiping grease off your face after every bite.
-You don’t need fancy anything for a good meal, just go with simple and fresh. What does that mean? your stewed tomato’s are just tomato’s and seasonings, not a bunch of shit you cant pronounce. Use non iodized salt, or sea salt. Hell, you can get grinders at TJ for 1.99! this shit is not expensive, just stop going to Safeway for it. The fresh part only applies to the meat in this recipe, but otherwise get in the habit of buying only a weeks worth of groceries at a time, repeating every monday or whatever day is best for you.