Last weekend, I cooked a pasta dish which I hoped would satisfy Sam’s vegetarian requirements and Alex’s carnivorous diet. I chopped a lot of vegetables, sautéed them in a mixture of butter and olive oil, added herbs, seasoned them well, and then I simmered everything slowly until the vegetables were soft and the sauce was chunky.
It was a delicious vegetarian sauce, truth be told. Rich and chunky and tasty.
Looking at it, it’s hard to tell that there’s no meat in that sauce.
I topped it with my super easy grilled cheese pasta topping and it was marvelous. Or so I thought.
Alex said the pasta dish was bland. Bland like how, I asked. Bland in everything, she replied. And I understood. Meat has a certain texture and mouthfeel that cannot be replicated with vegetables.
The next day, with so much leftover pasta, and just Speedy and me in the house, I decided to transform the vegetarian pasta dish into an uber-meaty one. It was really easy.
First, I browned some ground meat in butter. I added lots of minced garlic, salt, pepper and paprika. When the meat was nicely browned and the mixture was super aromatic, I added the cooked vegetarian pasta straight from the refrigerator. I stirred everything together, switched the heat to the lowest setting, covered the pan and let everything blend together for about ten minutes. Just enough time for the pasta to get heated through and absorb the meaty flavors, but not turn soggy.
I ladled the now super meaty pasta into bowls, sprinkled in some grated cheese and chiffonaded basil, and it was a lunch that’s every carnivore’s delight.