i must confess to a profligacy towards certain canned fast foods. it's a reminder of my childhood, summers spent with cousins, sweaty and always ravenous for quick meals that required a can opener, microwave safe bowl and 3 minutes to nuke.
thankfully, i have outgrown this kind of eating, and with dw's encouragement, let go of such reckless indulgences. if i am to partake in such folly, it should at least be nourishing and good in taste. i was recently inspired to recreate a childhood favorite. keep in mind, this pasta bowl is thicker, creamier and meatier than it's distant canned cousin, much more dimensional with specks of kale and the heat of chili pepper.
tucking into this, it reminds me of home.
spaghetti-o's + venison meatballs
dairy-free, the sauce is vegan
i went fancy this time, next time, i might keep it simple and skip the béchamel sauce, or keep it vegan without the meat.
vegan béchamel sauce
6-8 TBL olive oil (i eyeballed it)
4 TBL white whole wheat flour
1 cup almond milk
salt/pepper to taste
dash of nutmeg
2 tsp nutritional yeast
in a sauce pan, heat up olive oil. add in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. purists will tell you to stir constantly so that the sauce will be as white as possible.. i may have walked away for a second and it was fine. you just want to cook the paste/roux until the flour is cooked thru, about 5 minutes. add in the almond milk, slowly, and stir (or whisk) mixture until clumps are gone, then add in the nutritional yeast. season with salt + pepper and a dash of nutmeg. cook until desired thickness has been achieved.
4 large ripe tomatoes rough chopped, whatever you have on hand, alternatively, a large can of fire roasted tomatoes (muir glen is our choice for off season canned tomatoes)
5-6 dinosaur kale leaves, rough chopped
1 medium onion, rough diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
salt/pepper to taste
chili pepper flakes
water or stock to thin out sauce according to taste
in a large pan/skillet, heat up some olive oil. add in the onions and carrots, saute until onions are translucent and carrots start to tender. add in the cloves of garlic, stir until fragrant, be sure not to burn. next, add in kale. at this point, throw in the tomatoes, heat thru. for every layer of added ingredients, season with salt/pepper, italian seasoning. add about a cup of water/stock, simmer for 20 minutes.
very carefully, pour sauce into blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. return to pan and keep warm
1 lb of ground venison (any ground meat will do)
1 small scallion, minced
handful of bread crumbs
mix everything in a bowl, rolling into balls. fry them up, or bake them. up to you.
pasta: ditalini rigati, or any other small pasta. cook to package instructions. (i used about half the package) reserve pasta water to thin out sauce accordingly.
combine the béchamel sauce with the tomato sauce, stir to incorporate. adjust seasoning as you'd like. add in the pepper flakes. next, add in the cooked pasta, along with a few ladles of pasta water to thin out sauce. this is entirely up to you. when pasta has been fully mixed thru, add in the meatballs. i found that the flavor deepened the next day, and the pasta soaked in any liquid. i would add about 1/8 - 1/4 cup of water to a bowl as i heated it up and it would thin out the sauce just enough.