I love cooking and try to cook from scratch for most of the days. But there are times that I am on the go and have limited time. To be used during these hectic times, I like to cook this sauce in bulk, and put as portions into the freezer. And whenever I am in need, they magically appear and turn into different courses, using a variety of vegetables and beans. This way, I feed the family with wholesome, home cooked meals with minimum of stress. Steamed/cooked courgettes (zucchini), french/runner beans, cauliflower, broccoli, potato, peas all go really well with this sauce. And add some red kidney beans (and more red pepper flakes!) to turn into a chilli sauce. This base sauce is also wonderful served over pasta. It’s no rocket science, simple and wholesome and we all enjoy it, hope you do too.
If you would like to omit the meat, you can use different kinds of mushrooms instead; their meaty texture and wonderful flavor would go really well in the sauce.
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes
1kg/2 1/4lb ground meat (of your choice)
5-6 medium onions, finely chopped (or grated for picky eaters!)
1 bulb garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2x400gr/14oz canned chopped tomatoes
15ml/1tablespoon tomato paste (or red pepper paste, if available)
10ml/2teaspoon ground cumin
10ml2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you’d like it spicier)
30-45ml/2-3 tablespoon olive oil
8fl oz/1 cup water
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan. Stir in the garlic and onion and cook until golden. Add the ground meat and cook for 2-3 minutes to brown them lightly. Stir in the carrots, tomato or red pepper paste, chopped tomatoes and the water, mix well. Season with salt and ground black pepper and add the cumin and red pepper flakes. Stir well, cover and cook over low heat for about 35 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking, add the parsley and stir well, turn the heat off. Check the seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed.
Once cooled down, you can put the sauce in containers, if you would like to freeze some. You can use some of the sauce (for instance 14fl oz/ 2 cups of cooked sauce would be more than enough for a family of 4) to serve with steamed broccoli or cauliflower. The sauce is also wonderful served over the pasta. We like to have a dollop of plain yoghurt and some plain rice by the side.