I never thought I would say this, but I am kinda tired of food. I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to cook it, and I certainly don’t want to eat it. This happens to me about four times a year, for no particular reason. Maybe it is due to the change in season; I am over all the summer dishes like fish tacos and corn on the cob, but it is still too hot here to be thinking about pumpkins and stews.
With the lack of appetite or oomph, I thought reading these new (to me) 1930’s cookbooks would be monotonous. Au contraire (said in a really thick Californian accent). They were actually fascinating! I was surprised by how little things have changed. The biggest difference from the 1930’s is we are no longer so enamored by both mayonnaise and gelatin salads, thank goodness!
Because I cook dinner for my family, I need to make sure whatever I am making will be palatable to my kids. So when I came across a recipe for “Noodles With Mushroom Meat Sauce” I knew I had hit the jackpot. The original recipe calls for 3/4 pound of round or chuck beef, but I decided to use some chicken sausage. I know that is a pretty big difference, but that was the only real substitution in the whole dish. But wow! It really turned out delish!
Sausage already has so many seasonings and spices within it so I didn’t really have to add much to the sauce. This makes life much easier. I served the sausage sauce with noodles for the kids and roasted spaghetti squash for both my husband and myself. I find spaghetti squash an excellent substitution for any pasta and I actually prefer its sweet taste and slight crunch. So much yum!
Sausage Pasta Sauce
2-3 chicken sausages with casing removed (feel free to substitute any sausage you like)
1 small onion diced
1 package sliced white button mushrooms
3 Tbsp flour
1-2 cups vegetable stock (you can also use chicken or beef stock)
1 cup tomato sauce
salt/pepper to taste
Heat a pan with tall sides (I used a dutch oven) over medium heat. Cover the bottom of the pan with a few glugs of olive oil and then carefully place the sausage meat that has been taken out of its casing on the bottom of the pan. Don’t let the hot oil burn you! Let the sausage meat cook for 5-8 minutes while breaking the large pieces up with a wooden spoon. When the sausage is cooked, empty the pan into a bowl to reserve for later. This includes any juices that have come out of the sausage.
Place pan back on the heat. Add a little more oil and start to cook the onions. I always add a little sprinkle of salt to help them soften and for flavor. But remember, the sausage is probably pretty salty, so you don’t need to add too much. Let the onions cook, stirring occasionally, until they are nice and soft and maybe even a little golden. Then push them to the side and add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes and then add the flour to the veggies and stir. Let the flour cook for a few minutes to take off the raw flavor.
Once the four has cooked for a minute or two, begin to add the vegetable stock while stirring at the same time. You will notice the stock instantly thickens up. I get the texture to a loose paste and then add the tomato sauce. This will loosen the mixture quite a bit. Now add the rest of vegetable stock to your preferred thickness. Some people like it on the thicker side (like me) and others like it thin. It is really up to you.
Now add the sausage and drippings back into the pan and stir. Bring the sauce up to a light boil then down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. I found I didn’t need any more salt at this point, but I did add some fresh ground pepper to taste.
Serve over any pasta noodles or roasted spaghetti squash.