Tasty Tuesdays – Ragu

Ragu is a delicious pasta sauce that complements nearly all noodle types.  This easy to prepare recipe amounted from many trials and is much healthier than the store-bought equivalent.  If you look at the ingredients list on store-bought pasta sauces you will see everything from sulphites to corn starch, to dehydrated vegetables and of course meat.  Who knows what grade of meat goes into these mass-produced jars, and who really wants to eat dehydrated vegetables?!  I encourage you to try this recipe, which is full of fresh vegetables and easily stores in the freezer.  It even tastes better the next day, once the flavours have a chance to marry.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 10 baby carrots
  • 8 brown mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dired basil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 turkey sausages
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot and sautee chopped onion, garlic, carrots and jalapeno for 5 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms and spices, continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  • Remove casings from turkey sausages and add to the sautee.  Break up the meat as it cooks for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Crush fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle, add to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoe paste and brown sugar, mix thoroughly.
  • Crush the whole tomatoes and add the entire can to the pot. 
  • Bring to a boil, then lower temperature and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add balsamic vinegar and continue to simmer for 12-15 minutes.
  • Salt and pepper to taste. *Don’t forget to remove the Bay leaves.

Interesting Facts

Most people are aware that carrots are rich in beta-carotene which gives the typical orange carrot its colour (Martinez-Tomas et al., 2012).  However, most people probably didn’t know that the orange carrots only became popular in the 17th century because of their taste, adaptability and nutritional value.  Thousands of years earlier, the first wild carrots, which were purple and red, were domesticated in Afghanistan (Stolarczyk and Janick, 2011).  There have been many studies on vision health related to carrot consumption, although only a few have actually been conducted on humans.  One particular study by Coleman et al. (2008), observed that women who consumed more than 2 servings of carrots per week had a lower risk of developing glaucoma when compared to those who ate less than 1 serving of carrots per week.  Additionally, this root vegetable is an abundant source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A which is well known for its role in maintaining healthy vision (Bobroff, 2011).  Another interesting longitudinal study completed in 2011 by Griep et al., found that higher intake of deep orange and yellow coloured fruits and vegetables may protect from coronary heart disease.  Thus to ensure a healthy diet it’s important to consume a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, so enjoy your carrots since they come in a rainbow of colours.

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