Friday, August 27, 2010

Hearty Pasta Sauce

We are here in Rwanda now & although we were greeted by a completely bare kitchen (not even a plate or cup) my kitchen is up & running now (although in a minimal state).   We even have an internet connection - though it is painfully sloooow compared to our high speed in the US.
 I would like to share with you a recipe that I have made several times during past trips here.  As far as feeding your family in Rwanda is concerned, anything not grown or produced locally is going to be expensive.  So, if we are buying pasta we are paying about $1.50 per bag.  And pasta sauce in a jar?  Forget it- probably about $5 or $6 per jar!  That will sure give you some motivation to cook from scratch (well, almost scratch, this recipe does use tomato paste which is used in a lot of recipes here).  This sauce recipe is not a “Ragu” type sauce, but more of a hearty tomato- based vegetable sauce that you can use on pasta or pizza.
I originally got the recipe from the cook at the guest house where we've stayed here in the past, and I am not sure what American or European cookbook she may have got the recipe from.  Here's a picture of the veggies and everything all prepped (I didn't have enough tomatoes so I used extra tomato paste):
And, yes I wanted to show you my hand- can you see that it is stained orange from shredding carrots?  Just in case you wanted to know a possible side effect of cooking from scratch!  That pile of green in the foreground is from prepping green beans.  The green beans they have here are in fact "string beans"- and you have to de-string them.  I was prepping quite a bit more than what we needed for one meal, just to save some for later.  I also brought Italian spices from home, because they don't have much of that here either.  This table is a high table, like bar height- but can you see how short my refrigerator is?  And the freezer inside is just a compartment in the top of it, with no door.  All part of the experience!
Hearty Pasta Sauce
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp. oil
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 Tbsp. dried)
4 tsp. Italian seasoning
6 cups tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. honey
salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion & garlic in oil until soft.  Add carrots, peppers, parsley, & Italian seasoning, stir.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, salt, & pepper.  Simmer for 1 hour.  Serve or freeze.

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