Winter comfort food to me is generally hot and spicy. True, I love a good baked mac and cheese as much as the next person, but eating too much hearty, cheesy food bores my palate, leads me to overeat, and just doesn’t excite me.
My husband, on the other hand, grew up in Ireland, where as he says, ketchup is considered spicy. Over the years, he has built up not just an impressive tolerance for spice, but a love for it. Just last Friday, he was calling me weak when our takeaway Vindaloo made me sweat.
Marathon training has me craving comfort food in the form of carbs as well as satisfying protein, so I recently whipped up a super simple meat sauce to coat ribbons of fettuccini.
I started with my veggies:
2 cups of small, sweet peppers
1 yellow onion
6 cloves of garlic
Instead of chopping these by hand, I pureed them. I really wanted them to kind of disappear into the sauce rather than being chunks of veggies. I was all about the meat in this dish, but I know I need my veggies too.
For this meat sauce, I used a package of hot Italian turkey sausage, removed from the casing and broken up, cooked in a little bit of olive oil and crushed red pepper to add more heat.
It smelled amazing.
Once the sausage was cooked, I poured in a can of crushed tomatoes and added a sprinkle of salt, a few pinches of dried basil, a dash of garlic powder and a pinch of oregano. I also added a splash of red wine from an open bottle, stirred it all up, and let it bubble away on the lowest heat while I worked.
I checked on the sauce over the course of about two hours, dipping pieces of bread in for a taste. When we were little, if my mom was making her amazing homemade sauce, she would always cut up bread for us and give us little bowls of sauce after school. I can still taste it, and it is still one of my favorite ways to eat sauce.
I couldn’t even wait for my husband to get for dinner to eat. I had one bowl before he got home and another with him. This sauce was easy, incredibly flavorful, and made for a pretty balanced meal.
I am always looking for easy, hearty meals to make for after training runs when I am ravenous and craving comfort. What are your favorites? Feel free to share links!