Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Spaghetti Recipe

Greetings Readers

I guess this will be the first post to share a recipe. My original spaghetti recipe was altered and revised to accommodate a friend who has just found out that they have CHF. Little did I know what that was and how much of a life change needs to be done. Sodium is the number one thing that my friend needs to watch out for when they eat.

Bearing that in mind I decided to alter a spaghetti recipe that I have. Mind you I am not changing my original recipe and I will still continue to make my own recipe for my own consumption. However, should I need to make some for me and my friend then I need to make this recipe.

Let me start with the ingredients

Muir Glen - Organic - Tomato Puree (30 mg - single serving 1/4 cup)
Johnsonville - Italian Sausage - mild (710mg - single serving 1 link)
Hunts - Tomato Paste (263 mg single serving 2 tbsp) - THE WORST SODIUM CONTENT..
American Beauty - Vemicelli (0mg)
Suntastic - 6 Large Hydroponic Tomatoes on the Vine - Hothouse #1 (0mg)
Spice Islands - Pepper
Spice Islands - Thyme
Spice Islands - Basil
Spice Islands - Oregano
Spice Islands - Fennel Seed
Spice Islands - Bay Leaves
Yellow Onion - Diced 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Fresh Garlic - 5 cloves - Use Garlic press
Delallo Dipping Oil - Garlic Flavored - Any amount you wish
Fresh Mushrooms - Any amount you wish

I really came in low on the sodium on the recipe by paying attention; otherwise this recipe could have been easily 500 to 1500 mg plus. Sort of the recipe I use regularly, but catered towards to a CHF person, I hope. I am not expert, but I think I did a good job. Though I have not a clue.

Sorry, I can not give out my personal recipe =). Nor can I give out the exact measurements on the spices. That, in my opinion, is the key to a spaghetti sauce being excellent and a spaghetti sauce made by someone who does not have a clue. Anyway, finding that perfect taste is really to one's own preference.

Onto the directions...

Open the cans - empty contents into a crock pot. Get the crock pot going my friend! Meaning plug that bad boy into the electrical socket and I would keep at lowest setting for getting the sauce started.

Then, you start the Italian Sausage by cooking in an "Iron Chef" pan. Well, we all make exceptions so any frying pan will do. Though, the "Iron Chef" frying pan is all that and a bag of potato chips. Note: if you buy the links sausage please make sure that you take off the links wrapping before frying. If no wrapping then the Italian Sausage is ready for the frying pan. You can either open fry or cover the frying pan - either option is acceptable.

While you have the Italian Sausage frying away your probably need to start dicing the onion up. Cut to your desired eating size, or your family's size should you be "the servant" and must obey/oblige the King/Queen of the household's rules. Me - I dice pretty well and I am King of the castle. While you have the cutting board out you can slice the fresh mushrooms up. Put aside the mushrooms and onions. I would also keep the onions and mushrooms separate, but that is totally up to you.

Do not forget to stir the Italian sausage occasionally!

If the Italian Sausage is not done frying start the garlic. Once you get the wrapping off the cloves put into the garlic press and press away. I put the pressed garlic onto a plate. Now, I stated five cloves, but that depends on the size of the cloves. Please watch how much cloves you press. You can under garlic a recipe, but to go overboard with garlic can be something else. Woo whew! Oh yes, garlic smells nice, but tasting something over garlic is something that no one should experience.

Once the Italian Sausage is done frying please empty the juice that has probably accumulated in a pan into one of the empty cans you initially opened up. Do not dump the juice into the sauce! When I say juice it literally is fat.

Dump the Italian Sausage into the crock pot and mix up.

Clean the frying pan. I actually wash the frying pan as opposed to just rinsing. Once clean put on the stove and let the frying pan heat up.

After the frying pan has heated up please add oil. Coat the bottom of the frying pan with oil. Let heat up a bit. Now, I usually cook the onions first, then add the mushrooms and then garlic last. Remember readers - Garlic burns easily, but also you do not have to fry. You can just add the garlic to the sauce directly, if you want. I just love the way the garlic fries up and the aroma the garlic lets out while frying away on the stove top.

Cook the onions solo for a while, basically until you think that is the way that you want the onions to be. There is no wrong way. After you almost get the onions the way you want, please add the slice mushrooms. The mushrooms will soon shrink to a very small size. Again cook to your desired time. Once you have decided that the onions and mushrooms are almost done frying add the pressed garlic.

During the frying process you can either add spices to the frying pan or you can add to the crock pot directly. To me there is no right or wrong way.

Once the frying is done go ahead and add the fried onions, mushrooms and garlic to the crock pot.

If you have followed this process pretty closely the sauce and smell should be enticing.

Now, here is where I had made the mistake. As I listed the ingredients out you saw that I made a note on that can of Hunt's tomato paste. That little can is where the most sodium come from per serving. Matter of fact the sodium content is higher than the link of Italian Sausage and that was pretty amazing to me. I knew that the sodium content in the paste was going to be a lot since it is a paste. And that is why I bought 6 tomatoes. I should of not used the tomato paste at all and perhaps bought 9 large tomatoes. So, this next part I did do and could be used in case you want to forgo using a can of tomato paste and a can of tomato sauce.

Please wash all the tomatoes and remove all the little stickers on them before blending. I grabbed my big blender and decided to use that to blend my 6 tomatoes. I did not add the whole tomatoes directly to the blender. I cored the top of tomatoes and then I diced each tomato before adding to the blender. To me this was not foolish or extra work. It was just do. I also cut out the insides of the tomatoes and the seeds were discarded.

Once I got done dicing I adding the six diced tomatoes to the blender. I started the blender on the puree setting. Wow. The blender blended the tomatoes perfectly. I looked at the blended tomatoes and thought to myself that looks great. I poured the puree into the crock pot and mixed into the mixture already cooking away.

Now, with the fresh tomatoes I am betting that you could ignore adding the cans of tomato sauce and tomato paste in this recipe and just use fresh tomatoes all together. After all, the freshly blended tomatoes looked so pretty and fresh when I poured into the crock pot. So, should you want to try and use just fresh tomatoes please do. That in turn would lower the sodium content even more and basically leaving the Italian Sausage as the only sodium item.

I did not list water as an ingredient, but you can add water to the sauce in order to make the sauce less thick. Me - I like a thick sauce. Again, this is an option that you can consider. When I see watery spaghetti it reminds of restaurant spaghetti, which means it is bad in my humble opinion. Not bad tasting, but just bad presentation. And really does anyone want to see watery sauce?

And that is that. You can turn up the heat setting or not depending on when you want to eat. I usually let the sauce cook for a good six to nine hours. And my view on cooking Spaghetti sauce in less than an hour is just wrong. Wrong!

And the picture has nothing to do with spaghetti, but thought to share a picture of some of my bike helmets.

until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete.

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