Dark Days: Quick Tomato Sauce and Locally Made Pasta

February 22, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)

dark days meal

For those of you who’ve been keeping track, you might have noticed that I missed getting a Dark Days post up last week. I’ve taken to waiting until the last minute to cook and record my all-local (or mostly local) meals and I just ran out of time (last Sunday was Scott’s birthday, so we ate food of his choosing and not a bit was local. However, I believe in flexibility when I comes to birthdays).

home canned tomatoes

This week though, I got right back on the Dark Days wagon. I actually made this meal on Wednesday night, and we ate it all week long (truly, it was dinner for both of us on Wednesday and Thursday, and I finished it up on Friday night). It’s one of those dishes that is blessedly easy and can almost always be created from the contents of my pantry and freezer.

locally made whole wheat egg noodles

I’m fairly certain that most of you have your own version of a quick pantry pasta sauce, but here’s how I do mine. Heat up a big skillet and add a fat pat of butter or drizzle of olive oil (I used some local butter in attempt to play by the rules). Roughly chop one large or two small onions (from my Winter Harvest order) and add them to the pan. Let them cook for a few moments. When they’ve gained some color, create a well in the center of the onions and drop in one pound of ground beef (Meadow Run Farms). Use a wooden spatula to chop it up into crumbles. At this point, I also add some minced garlic, salt, pepper and dried oregano.

While the meat cooks, rinse a bundle of kale and chop it up into ribbons. Add it to the pan and stir to combine. If the kale is threatening to overflow the pan, reduce the heat a little and put a lid on it, to help it wilt down.

When the kale has wilted, stir it into the meat and onions. Now add your tomatoes. I start with a quart of home canned romas and sometimes add an additional pint (I love that I canned ‘maters in both pints and quarts last summer, it makes for great flexibility). Stir it all together, reduce the temperature and let it cook together for ten or fifteen minutes.

While the sauce cooks down, bring pasta water to a boil. I used the locally made whole wheat egg noodles the first night we ate this. The next night, Scott requested something slightly less akin to cardboard. I subbed in multi-grain angel hair.

Eat while watching the Olympics.

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8 thoughts on "Dark Days: Quick Tomato Sauce and Locally Made Pasta"

  • Thanks for the recipe! I made it last night and it was a huge hit with the family. After my 13 year old son wolfed his portion down, I let him know he had just eaten kale (to him, new or different things are BAD!). He just shrugged and said it was great!

  • Lyneya, I’m so glad that you get good ideas from me. Hooray!

    Kay S., yay! I’m delighted to hear it was such a hit with your family!

  • Great idea putting kale in the sauce, I’ll have to try that sometime. I’m just having a look through your blog and there are SO many things I want to try out. Definitely one of my new favourite blogs!

    Take care, Rachael

  • Do you ever dry your own pasta? I’ve made pasta & frozen it with poor results – it stuck together like mad and became a gloopy ball when I tried to cook it. Bleh!!

    Would love to hear from others who make their own pasta & preserve it via drying.

  • Jenn A – I’ve heard the best way to dry pasta is to suspend a clean broomstick between two chairs and then hang your pasta over it. I’ve never done it, but it’s supposed to work.