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Guest Post! Scavenged Dinner-Leftover Wine Pasta Sauce

As some of you know (or perhaps have guessed by this point), Ben and I both LOVE food…and we love to cook together. He is a pretty great cook and is phenomenal at whipping up meals out of the food that’s left in the fridge when we haven’t had a chance to go to the grocery store. That being said, he made a great dinner on Tuesday night for himself (I had book club) and was so sweet to put together a lunch “to-go” container for me for the next 2 days. It was some of the best pasta sauce that I’ve had. He offered to guest post about it, so without further ado…

On my ride home on the bus I realized that I wanted to make dinner so I picked up a jar of pasta sauce from the Seven-Eleven between the bus stop and Annie’s apartment. The jar of Ragu was the only thing that I bought to make this sauce. I bought the only jar that they had which was a plain type of sauce, I think basil and tomato.

A note before going further: I don’t really measure anything when I cook and I recommend you to do the same. I cook to taste. I add and add until I think it tastes or looks right. This does make for mistakes and recipes not coming out the way that I thought they would, but I believe that I makes me a better cook because I can learn from my mistakes.  So please forgive me for my vague recipe.

I started the water boiling for the pasta. (Every kitchen should always have some kind of pasta.) It doesn’t matter the type of pasta. This was soccer-shaped pasta that we got in a gift bag at a wedding.

I put a medium pot on the burner on medium-low. While the pot was heating up, I took one slice of thick cut bacon that I had in the freezer and cut it up into very small pieces. I used scissors to cut it because it was difficult to cut while frozen. I put the bacon into the pot and let all of the fat melt.

I grabbed some not so good looking Kale from the fridge and using my hands ripped it into small pieces throwing out the mushy bits (in total I used about a cup of kale). I turned up the heat on the pot and added the kale. (I did not add any salt because I was using some of my home-cured bacon which was a bit salty, but if you are using less salty bacon I would recommend adding a pinch of salt here.)

I added some dried minced garlic, dried parsley, and dried basil. I sprinkled each of them. Add as much of each to your level or preference of each of the flavors. I was heavy on the garlic, light on the parsley, and used a healthy dose of basil.

I let the kale get nice and fried and let the bacon get just a bit crispy. You will know when it is right from the smell. I ran into an issue here because I needed something to sweeten up the sauce. My original thought was to use honey because it was one of only a couple items left in the kitchen to eat. (If you try this with honey, please let me know how it goes).

I had a bit of luck here. Annie had previously been home and she had a glass of Gewurztraminer, a sweet aromatic wine that Annie is very partial to. She left it for me to finish and I decided that this would be sweetening agent that I needed. I added enough wine to cover the bottom of the pot with a decent layer to de-glaze the pot. This got up all the good flavors that were crusted to bottom of the pot. I let the wine sizzle of a minute or two then turned the heat down to low.

I added the pasta into the boiling pot at this point. I also added some of store-bought sauce to the sauce pot at this point. I added only enough to give it the desired volume of sauces. I think I used about half the jar. When the pasta was al dente, the sauce was warm and ready to eat.

I was really suprised at how well it came out. I think it was one of the best “scavenged dinners” I have ever made. In fact, it was a lot better than some of the nicer dinners I have ever made. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Jar of regular pasta sauce
  • 1 slice of thick cut bacon
  • Dried minced garlic
  • Dried Parsley
  • Dried Basil
  • Kale (Fresh would be best)
  • A glass of half drank Gewurztraminer
  • 1 lb of pasta
  • Kosher salt
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