This will be the first installment of “My Chef Audrey.” To start, a little background on Audrey’s kitchen history. Audrey started working in kitchens as a teenager. She’s done everything from washing dishes, prepping food, and being a head cook. While Audrey has not had any professional training, you would never guess that when you taste her food. Anything you ask her, she can make! I’ve never seen her use a recipe and I’ve never tasted anything I didn’t LOVE! While Audrey is no longer running a kitchen, she is the head chef in our house.
Sunday was a gloomy afternoon so she whipped up some comfort food, baked pasta with homemade sauce. Often Audrey makes use of whatever we have in the fridge when it comes to breakfast and lunch. Most of our meals include some form of bacon. We are total Iowa pork loving girls. According to Audrey, “bacon is good for you because it makes you feel good.” We also use a lot of avocado. We always try to use fresh ingredients, and can’t wait to start using our own herbs, and veggies from our garden!
Fridge Find Pasta Sauce
Pre-heat oven to 350 F, Serves at least 2, at most 5.
- 1 tablespoon oil (olive, canola, etc.)
- 1/4 small red onion
- 3 sweet red baby bell peppers or half a red bell pepper
- 1 large garlic clove
- 6 asparagus stalks
- 1 chicken bratwurst
- handful of spinach
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- a couple shakes of dried basil, and rosemary
- 1 6oz can of tomato paste
Additional Ingredients for Baked Pasta
Boil a pot of water per the instructions on the pasta box.
In a large frying pan add 1 tablespoon of oil and turn your burner to medium/medium high. As I said before we eat a lot of bacon so we save our grease in a tin can for occasions such as this. Dice onion, baby bell peppers, and garlic, and place into your now warm frying pan. Cut asparagus to bite size pieces and add them to the pan as well. Next you will dice up your meat. We used a brat we had leftover from our dinner the night before. You could use any meat that is available; ground beef, bacon, chicken, etc. If your meat is not pre-cooked like ours was you will want to cook your meat before cook your veggies. You can use the grease from your meat to cook your veggies, which adds extra flavor to them! Now add your spinach. The spinach will reduce considerable in size once cooked, then add your tomato paste. Add a little water to your paste until it is the consistency you like your sauce. Add in all of your herbs and spices. This is a rich and flavorful sauce because of the tomato paste. If you want a more subtle flavor you could half the tomato paste and use a can of diced tomatoes.
At this point your water should be boiling. Add pasta and cook as long as the directions on the box call for. Your sauce should be simmering nicely at this point, if you need to, turn down your burner. Let the sauce simmer while your pasta cooks. Find a baking dish that will accommodate the amount of pasta you are cooking. For example, Audrey added more pasta than we would need for our baking dish because she had enough sauce. We love leftovers! If you were serving dinner to more than just 2 or 3 people you might choose a larger dish than say a bread pan. After your pasta is done cooking, dump it directly into your frying pan (hope you grabbed a big one!!). Mix the pasta and sauce, and have a little sample! Now add your pasta to your baking dish and top with “all the cheese,” as Audrey says. We used shredded Colby Jack because it’s what we had, but mozzarella would probably be ideal. Bake until cheese is melty and golden and delicious. Enjoy!
If you would like to see more of Audrey’s delicious food creations search #mychefaudrey on Instagram.
Let us know in the comments if your make your our or your own version of Fridge Find Pasta Sauce!