Spaghetti – The Antidote to Snow Fever

About two days ago the weather reporters began hinting about a snowstorm that might hit Minnesota this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.  The snowfall depth predicted is between six and twelve inches.  (Well, it is still winter in Minnesota.)  This news is delivered with the same enthusiasm that all the weather reporters practice, but with different shades of warning and almost a tone of regret that they have to report yet more snow. (March is often the snowiest month.) I felt like the reports were creating a “Snow Fever”.

It is still cold here as I tell my California friend each time he asks, “Is it above freezing?” My reply last week, “No. It was minus 5˚ and is in the 20s today. I am used to it”

With all the repeated predictions of another storm that the weather people are preparing us for, my stomach turned towards simple food.  Spaghetti and red sauce and as I cooked it, I remembered my mother making the sauce in a large pot.  Her sauce would slowly bubble away.  I liked the sound of the sauce simmering.  Some people feel that to make a good sauce that it must cook for hours, the way my mother made her sauce.
I have tried making sauce; in fact it was the first meal that I tried to make when I was thirteen years old.  It was a fake-it-until-you-make-it process – literally. (No cookbook and no internet.)

Later as an adult, one recipe I developed was a combination of onions, garlic, and fresh Roma tomatoes seasoned with oregano and cooked in olive oil.  This was any easy and quick way to have a light “sauce” ready quickly.  The problem with the method was that the Roma tomatoes skins separated from the meat of the tomatoes and had to be fished out.  (Darn it.)

As I went through the grocery store, I picked up some Baby Belle mushrooms and some pre-made tomato sauce.  It was cold and I was really hungry. (Baby Belle mushrooms have a nice woody flavor and do not become too squishy during cooking.)  I had a leftover venison meatball that I knew would add just the right flavor and still be a low cholesterol meat for this sauce. For the basil I used what I dried from the summer.  This gave me a hint of summer sun and fresher flavors.

Ingredients for two people

Quick sauce

1 venison meatball

½ teaspoon olive oil

½-carton Baby Belle mushrooms to ½ jar sauce

1/2 white onion thinly sliced

1 large clove of garlic crushed or chopped

1½ teaspoon of dried basil or chopped fresh

Salt and pepper to taste

1 small jar of prepared tomato sauce (amount depends on your preference)

250 grams or a about 1/3 of box Barilla whole wheat spaghetti


Put water on to boil for the spaghetti.  Barilla whole-wheat spaghetti’s flavor is light and still provides the good stuff of whole-wheat pasta.  (Not all brands of whole-wheat pasta compliments sauce. Some are tasteless and doughy.)  Add salt to the water or olive oil to prevent sticking.  When the water boils add the spaghetti, cook for 7 to 8 minutes according to instructions and drain.

While the water is boiling heat olive oil in a medium skillet and add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic on a low fire. Stir and watch out that the mushrooms do not get too soft.

Add the venison meatball[1] and mash it into the mixture. Cook for a few minutes. Then add in half of an 8-ounce jar of pre-made sauce to the mixture.  Gently stir it all together. Then stir in the basil.

Drain the spaghetti and put it in individual bowls with the sauce on top and serve with some grated Asiago cheese.

Here’s a slow food sauce recipe and link from the goddess of Italian cooking, Lidia Matticchio Bastianch.  It does not take 2-5 hours to make.

Tomato Sauce

Epicurious  | September 1998

by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

Lidia’s Italian Table

Yield: Makes about 3 cups; enough to sauce 6 servings of pasta

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cored, peeled, and seeded, or one 35-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, seeded and lightly crushed, with their liquid

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped carrots

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

4 fresh bay leaves or 2 dried bay leaves


Peperoncino (crushed red pepper)


Pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with the fine disc or crush them as fine as possible in a bowl with a wire whisk.

In a medium-size nonreactive saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and simmer until wilted. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, season lightly with salt and peperoncino, and heat to a simmer. Simmer the sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 45 mintues. Remove the bay leaves. Check the seasoning and add more salt and peperoncino if necessary.

Read More Retrieved March 5, 2011

[1] Venison meatball courtesy of Richard of Richard’s Table.


About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Credits: Do not own a microwave oven and never have. Do not own a food processor. Chopped veggies in a Zen monastery for a weekend. (Seriously) Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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