June 13, 2011

Tomato Sauce with Bacon and Mushrooms

This is a great weeknight dinner- or an anytime treat. It's tasty, easy to make, and reheats beautifully! What's also nice about it is that it doesn't have to be attended continually- you can be doing other things at the same time.

Tomato Sauce with Bacon and Mushrooms

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 yellow onion, chopped finely

4 pieces raw bacon, cut into 1/3" pieces

1 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms (baby bella)

1/2 cup red wine

28 oz. canned diced tomatoes

sea salt



farfalle pasta

In a large pot, heat the oil and butter over medium low heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion. It was hard to find regular yellow onions at the store this afternoon! They were really pushing the sweet onions and the yellow onions were tucked away in the back, and honestly, they'd seen better days. Poor, sad little onions :( Cook the onion for about five minutes, until the onion is getting a little browned in some parts. Did you know that you can keep the onion and garlic smell off your hands so, so easily? The trick is to wash your hands with COLD water after and during handling. It's hot water that will make the oils stick to you and the smell will linger. Give it a try, you'll be amazed!

While the onion is cooking, wash and chop your mushrooms and also cut the bacon. The easiest way to cut the bacon is to keep the 4 pieces together, don't separate them, and just cut perpendicular into pieces about 1/3" wide. Add the bacon to the onion in the pot, but separate a fair amount of the bacon pieces from each other first. Cook the bacon for about three to five minutes, you want it to cook a little, but not completely cook. Next, add the mushrooms. Give the mushrooms another five minutes. It's ok if there's some browning on the bottom of the pan. That's good, actually, because you'll use the wine to get the wonderful brown bits incorporated into your sauce.

Add the wine, taste a little to make sure it's good- it's for the good of the sauce, of course (wink), and then pour yourself a glass anyhow! Let the wine cook for a few minutes, you want it to reduce by about half. Now, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and set your timer for 25 minutes. Keep the heat low, stir every now and then, and go do something else (play in a sandbox, give a baby a bath, watch Game of Thrones on your DVR- or at least some of it).

We had this sauce with farfalle, but use whatever type of pasta you like! Although, because it's somewhat chunky, it will work best with pasta shapes that are medium in size and have some depth in their shape to hold sauce and pieces of bacon, mushroom and onion. Get your water boiling, when it's boiling add some salt (not before, it will adhere to the bottom of the pot and be very stubborn about being removed) and cook your pasta until it's just done- remove from the boiling water and rinse with cold water, this helps the cooked pasta from sticking together.

This is great with La Dolce Duchessa's Simple and Delicious Garlic Bread, here's the link:

Here's another handy thing about this dish- once the sauce has simmered for 25 minutes, you can just turn off the burner and leave it for a little while until you are ready to assemble the dish to eat- same thing with the pasta, especially if you rinse it with the cool water. I left both of these for a little while while we were upstairs putting the little one to bed. Then, we were ready to eat, so we came back downstairs and in the same pot I had used to boil the pasta, I spooned in some sauce, added some pasta, and heated both together, adding a little grated parmesan. This is a great thing to do with pasta, it really coats the pasta better than just placing the plain pasta in a bowl and then ladling sauce over the top. Once you've heated up the pasta and sauce sufficiently, place in bowls or on plates, and top with some additional grated parmesan. Place your garlic bread on the side. Enjoy! This amount served two adults with some leftover.

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