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My Virtually Fat Free Meaty Primavera Pasta Sauce
Member Name: Hishyeness
Advantages: Verstaile and almost completely fat free
Disadvantages: Needs a bit of prep time
I do like a bit of pasta, but one of the things I quickly learned when I started to watch my weight was the veritable minefield of horrors lurking in most ready made sauces - such as added fat, sugar and salt - which can turn an otherwise impressively healthy dish into a dietary catastrophe.
After spending far too much time perusing the ingredients of every possible variety of pasta sauce - all in a vain attempt to find a quickie solution - I decided there was nothing for it but to make my own from scratch. What follows is the end product of almost ten months of testing and tweaking - a truly fat free tomato based pasta sauce that is readily freezable if made in quantity. This is my holy grail - a dieter's dream - because on the Slimming World plan that I follow, it is completely "free".
I call it a Meaty Primavera Sauce because it's heavy on the veggies, but the extra lean mince (steak or lamb - either will do) adds both body and flavour. If you want a veggie option, just leave out the meat. This is a very versatile sauce and it's very easy to get creative with the ingredients. The only thing missing is olive oil - but you can add some of that too if you don't mind the extra calories.
Makes enough for four generous servings:
1 whole red pepper - sliced
1 whole green pepper - sliced
1 medium red onion - sliced (or roughly chopped)
2 large cloves of garlic - crushed
1 small can of sweet corn (frozen will also do)
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
1 carton of good quality passata (I use Napolina)
1 can of good quality chopped tomatoes (Napolina for me)
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
250 to 300g sliced mushrooms
500g extra lean steak or lamb mince (optional)
Fry Light Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Coat a large, lidded, heavy based saucepan with Fry Light and put it on high heat on the hob. Chuck in the garlic, red onion and chilli, and fry for two or three minutes or until the onions start to brown off a little. Then add the meat (skip this if you want a veggie option), stirring vigorously until there is no pink meat evident. Then add in the chopped peppers, and keep stirring for another two or three minutes. Finally, add the mushrooms.
Once the mushrooms shrink and give off water, wait until it evaporates and the bottom of the pan starts to sizzle before adding the chopped tomatoes, passata and tomato puree and sweetcorn in quick succession. Give it a good old stir, and then add salt and pepper to taste and finally, the balsamic vinegar.
Put the lid on, and reduce the heat so that the sauce starts to simmer gently. Cook for an additional half an hour to forty five minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally to allow the sauce to thicken. Make sure you taste it and add salt and pepper if required.
Once you are happy with the thickness, turn off the heat and let it cool for three or four minutes before adding it on top of whatever kind of pasts you fancy. Once the leftover has cooled, you can store it for up to three days in the fridge, or three months from frozen.
I tend to have mine with shaped pasta such as fusilli or penne as it holds the sauce better., and I top it with parmesan shavings. For some reason, it tastes even better the day after it is made, and, as such, it's well worth making in advance.
For variety, I sometimes use chopped bacon, trimmed of all visible fat, or capers and anchovies. In addition, if you want to go vegetarian, it works equally well with Quorn mince and a dash of Worcestershire sauce in place of the balsamic vinegar and lamb/steak mince.
© Hishyeness 2009
Summary: A delicious and verstaile fat free sauce for topping pasta