Meatless Vegetarian Pasta Sauce (Sugo Finto)

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Sugo Finto - "Fake Sauce" - uses celery, carrots and onion in a red wine tomato sauce to produce a rich, hearty flavor for pasta without meat. I learned this recipe at a Tuscan cooking class at Fattoria Corsignano near Siena, Italy. You won't miss the meat, I promise!

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Pasta Sauce, Meatless (Sugo Finto)
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Finely dice carrots, celery and onions.
  2. Sauté in olive oil until the onions are translucent and everything is well cooked and tender. Add a clove of diced garlic here if you like.
  3. Add red wine and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and cook, uncovered, for 30-45 more minutes to allow the flavors to blend, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Serve warm, over al dente pasta, and sprinkle with fresh-grated Parmesan.
Recipe Notes

Fresh basil leaves are a good garnish. Crusty bread and red wine are good partners!

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Hirschgulasch: Bavarian Venison Goulash/Stew Recipe

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Recipe for authentic Bavarian venison stew, or Hirschgulasch. My dear German friend not only gave me her mother's family recipe, but she also gave me a hands-on tutorial on how to do it. Delicious!

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Stew: Hirschgulasch (Bavarian Venison Goulash) Recipe
Delicious, rich authentic Bavarian venison stew.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut venison into large, uniform cubes; if the cubes are too small the meat will be dry and chewy.
  2. Dice the onions.
  3. Brown the venison in a large, heavy pot/Dutch oven with a little olive oil over medium-high heat on top the stove in small batches. Remove each batch to a bowl. Once it’s all browned, add all the venison back into the pot.
  4. Stir in the onions and tomato paste with a wooden spoon. Deglaze the pan by scraping the flavor bits off the bottom of the pan while stirring. The onions provide the moisture for the deglazing.
  5. Add thyme, marjoram, stock, juniper berries, bay leaves, lingonberry preserves and wine, stirring after adding each ingredient.
  6. After all the ingredients come to temperature, the stew should be gently simmering. Adjust the temperature to achieve this. Cover the pot and let simmer for one hour. If the simmer is just right, you should not have to stir the pot for the entire hour.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Dice the bacon and slice the mushrooms. Render the bacon in the skillet until crispy and brown. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat.
  8. Fifteen minutes before the goulash is finished simmering (45 minutes after it started), stir the bacon and mushrooms into the pot. Replace the cover and continue simmering for 15 more minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and add the crème fraîche to the goulash. Stir well. Taste and add salt, pepper or more lingonberry preserves, if necessary.
  10. Serve warm with noodles or Spätzle and a spoonful of lingonberry preserves on the side.
Recipe Notes

Juniper berries (Wacholderbeeren in German) are a staple of Bavarian cuisine, but if you can’t find them use a sprig of fresh rosemary, a shot of gin, or 2 extra bay leaves instead. Or simply omit the juniper berries entirely.

Use sour cream instead of crème fraîche, but sour cream is not as rich and is more tangy. Sour cream tends to curdle over heat, so be sure to remove goulash from the heat first before you add the sour cream.

Goulash is self-thickening, but if you want it thicker, add a slurry of 2 tablespoons flour mixed with ¾ cup water to the pot a few minutes before it’s done, while it’s still simmering. Cook it long enough afterward so that there is no floury taste.

This stew is tailored for venison, but you can use stew beef or chicken, too.

Serve over Spatzle noodles.

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