Pasta sauce has to have tomatoes in it, right? I say, NOT SO! Give this delicious tomato-free sauce a try the next time you’re in the mood for pasta. It’s hearty but also full of vegetables (see all those carrots?) so I can pretend that it’s actually good for me.
My recipe is adapted from one in Good Cooking: The New Basics by Jill Dupleix. Sadly, it looks like it’s out of print now, but a few used copies are available over at Amazon and it looks like it’s available as a free e-book. It’s a great cookbook full of easy recipes from a whole slew of different cultures. If you run across a copy, definitely pick it up.
I’ve adapted this recipe for a few reasons. First, the original recipe calls for 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef. Well, in my grocery store, ground beef only comes in tidy blocks weighing in at 1 lb. Second, I loathe dried mushrooms. There are only a handful of foods I hate. Lima beans come in as number one followed closely by dried mushrooms. So I use only 1 lb of meat and fresh mushrooms since they are more to my liking.
This looks like a loooooonnnnggggg list of ingredients, but most of these are pantry staples. Served with 1 lb of pasta, this will serve 4 heartily or 6 if served with a salad and a few loaves of bread.
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, washed well and chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese to taste
Heat butter and oil in a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and carrot and cook until slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms, cook until mushrooms give off and reabsorb most of their liquid. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Sprinkle flour over beef vegetable mixture and stir well to combine. Cook about a minute. Stir in dried thyme then the stock. Simmer, partly covered, for at least 45 minutes. Right before serving, stir in lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serve over piping hot long noodles like linguini or spaghetti.