makes 4 servings (can easily double the recipe for 8 servings just increase end cooking time to thicken)
Ingredients: 2 T olive oil 1/4 medium onion, coarsely chopped 4 large garlic cloves, minced 1 small spicy pepper, diced (in winter I use serrano, in summer I use a cayenne from the garden) 1/4 lb. lean ground beef, bison, or venison (optional) 4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 5 C) 1/4 C fresh basil leaves, chopped 2 T balsamic reduction 1 T vodka 1/4 t garlic powder salt to taste (I use 1/4 t) 1/4 t red pepper flakes 3/4 t honey 2 T heavy whipping cream 8 oz whole wheat fettuccine, cooked according to package Shaved Parmesan to top
1. Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, small pepper, and ground meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are tender. If juices are browning too quickly add a tablespoon of water to deglaze the pan. 2. Add tomatoes to pan, stirring occasionally for about 5 min. 3. Add basil, balsamic reduction, vodka, garlic powder, salt, pepper flakes, and honey. Cook down until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 min. 4. Using emulsion blender according to manufacturer's directions, blend sauce slightly to break up large chunks. 5. Stir in cream. 6. Serve over pasta and top with shaved Parmesan
Tips: *This sauce is delicious meatless as well! *If you don't have an emulsion blender or want a smoother sauce, dice onions fine and puree tomatoes before adding (or dice fine). * variation: swap vodka for red wine and add fresh herbs from the garden in addition to basil (rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives) - I usually don't add meat to this one.