Passata (a chunky homemade tomato sauce) captures the flavours of summer in a bottle, each…
Welcome to a Corona-time cooking story with an eye to the future.
May we present an easy, wholesome meal that can be cooked now and frozen for later—that time you don’t feel like cooking because you have COVID, are coming down with it, or are recovering from it.
It feels quite sensible to have some freezer meals stashed away at this point in the pandemic cycle where, quite frankly, it feels like it’s just a matter of time before the RAT test comes back with two lines.
Every family has their own interpretation of spag bol and this is mine, passed down from my mum, and as was her style, laden with vegetables.
Were you to be suffering from COVID, or any other illness, I can’t imagine a more fortifying meal. And for the parents reading, this recipe is simply irresistible for children.
They won’t have a clue they are eating the rainbow once there is pasta below and grated cheese above this delicious sauce. It freezes spectacularly well and is easy to cook in bulk. Maybe you can make some and deliver a meal to a friend in need?
- 1 kilo of premium beef mince
- Half a kilo of pork mince
- Two white onions finely diced
- 2 zucchinis grated
- 2 carrots grated
- Two tins of pulped tomatoes
- Two tablespoons of tomato paste
- Chopped herbs, including flat -eafed parsley and chives.
- 1 large teaspoon of crushed garlic
Sauté onions in olive oil until soft. Add the mince and brown. Add the grated vegetables until everything is soft (all up around ten minutes). Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for 20 minutes or so.
Throw in your finely chopped herbs and season to taste. I always take it off the heat and let it sit for a while. Then I faff about, clean the kitchen, get distracted and eventually come back to boil the pasta.
At that point I simmer it again and add a teaspoon of fresh crushed garlic right at the end. This is a controversial step, I know, born from forgetting to cook the garlic with the onions one time and realising it gave a lovely garlicky hit if you simply stir through at the end. Obviously if you’re not into garlic then leave it out…But if you are then thank me later!
Sometimes I add a dollop of butter because I firmly believe butter makes everything better and I know lots of people love a dash of milk too (don’t knock it before you try it!).
If you have a seriously large pot and want to bulk it out with more vegetables you can try add the following: a tin of brown lentils (no way would my kids knowingly eat brown lentils but they don’t even know they are hiding with the mince) kidney beans, chopped mushrooms or celery.
Additional herbs can include basil and spring opinion. And if you have any bacon or pancetta lying around, it always adds a flavour boost.
The best bit is serving out a portion for dinner and then having tonnes left to portion out into containers or freezer bags to put away for a rainy (viral) day. Fingers crossed you won’t need it. But you will be glad it’s there if you do.