Thursday, February 27, 2014

Twice the Fun - Two Sauces

A couple of weeks ago one of Allison's roommates, Grace, had a birthday.  They live with four other girls in a house on campus and seem have a huge amount of fun in between periods of serious studying.  Grace's mom, Mariana lives close to me, and she came over to my house with groceries. 

Under her direction, we cooked up a delicious birthday meal for Grace, the roommates, and some friends.  Mariana wanted to make a couple special sauces that could be served over pasta. She had in mind one of Grace's favorites, a beefy mushroom sauce made from Trader Joe's packaged filet mignon beef tenderloin, but also a vegetarian ratatouille as a meatless choice.  I've had "two sauce option" dinners before, and one sauce usually over powers the other due to stronger flavors.  So, I was pleasantly surprised when both of these sauces could hold their own even while on the same plate. In fact, they played off extremely well against each other - just as the roomies do!

Ratatouille Sauce

Ingredients and Directions for 4 servings:

1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, put through a press
1/2 each of medium red, orange, and yellow bell peppers
2 (15 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

8 oz. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

Cut the eggplant into 3/4 inch slices and place in a bowl.  Cover with water and add 2 teaspoons of salt.  Set aside while continuing with the rest of the steps in the recipe.

Peel and dice the onion.  Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet and add the onion. Saute over medium heat until the onion is tender but not brown.  Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.

While the onion is cooking, cut the zucchini and yellow squash into 3/4 inch slices, and then cut the slices into cubes.  Seed the bell peppers, discard the membranes, and cut them into cubes.  Drain and rinse the eggplant slices and cut those into cubes.  Place in the pan with the tender onions.

Cook the vegetables over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they are tender but not mushy. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, garlic salt, salt, and pepper.  Cook an additional 10 minutes.

Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.

Beef Tenderloin Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients and Directions for Four Servings

16 oz. filet mignon beef tenderloin
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms
6 oz. sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion
1 medium shallot
2 cloves garlic
1 cup beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch

8 oz. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

Slice the beef tenderloin into strips.  Wash, rinse, and slice any really large mushrooms into smaller pieces.  Peel and dice the onion and shallot.  Peel the garlic cloves and put through a press.

Melt the butter into a large skillet.  Add the beef strips and cook over medium heat until brown.

Remove the beef with a slotted spoon, allowing the juices to remain in the pan.  Add the onion and shallot to the same pan and saute over medium low heat until tender.  Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Now remove the onion mixture allowing the juices to remain in the pan.  Add the mushroom to the pan and saute over medium low heat until tender. Return the meat and onion mixture to the pan.  Add 3/4 of the broth and scrape the pan to loosen any "fond" from the bottom of it.  Turn up the heat and allow the mixture to reach a boil. Stir the corn starch into the remaining broth and pour it in all at once.  The sauce should thicken up almost immediately.  Serve it over the hot, cooked spaghetti.

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