Monday, May 23, 2011

Linguine with Sweet and Savory Marinara (with lean ground turkey, baby spinach and raisins)

I know, you're thinking raisins?  In marinara sauce?  It sounds weird, but last month, some friends came to visit from England, and the discussion of food combinations came up; one of them mentioned that they liked raisins in their spaghetti.  It's certainly different, but after all, I'm someone who will put ketchup on scrambled eggs, which Jamie thinks is incredibly strange.  I didn't really think about that particular combination of raisins and spaghetti after that conversation, until tonight, when I was scrounging for ingredients to make pasta.

Jamie made the grocery list this week, and tonight was going to be spaghetti night.  So after our gym workout tonight, I looked in the fridge to find 2 pounds of ground turkey and just half an onion.  (Have I mentioned yet how much he likes meat?  Seems we got more meat this week than veggies.)  Tomato sauce, minced garlic and seasoning would have made a good marinara sauce, but somewhat generic; so I found a forgotten package of baby spinach, and when I noticed the box of raisins in the cupboard, I thought I'd try what seemed like an unlikely combination and dedicate this recipe to Jessica and Leland, friends who have been through it all with me in China.  Miss you guys!
Linguine with Sweet and Savory Marinara (with lean ground turkey, baby spinach and raisins)
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 pounds lean ground turkey
2 tomatoes, diced
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 package baby spinach
1/2 cup raisins
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 pound linguine

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat;  add onion and season with salt; cook until onion is softened, about 2 minutes.

Add ground turkey to pot, and break up with a spoon.  Cook turkey and onion until turkey is completely cooked and no pink is showing, about 10 minutes.

Stir in garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and apple cider vinegar, and cook for another minute. Stir in raisins, Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper, then season with salt and pepper.  Pile all the baby spinach on top of the sauce, and place a tightly fitting lid on the pot to steam the spinach, for about five minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, while you cook the linguine.

Cook the linguine according to the directions, drain, then serve with the sauce.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

This made a lot of extra sauce, but it will freeze very well for future dinners.

Birthday Week Menu Lineup

Apparently, since I surprised Jamie this past weekend with a day at Bandimere Speedway to watch drag racing and jet engines, followed by a night at Arrowwood Manor Bed and Breakfast, I've started what he calls his "birthday week", since his birthday is not actually until next weekend.  Which is really his cute way of saying that I should cook dinner every night this week and give him back rubs.  :)

We take turns every week planning the menu and making the grocery list, and this was his week to do the planning.  I also have a little chalkboard in the kitchen where I write the menu for the week--he likes to tease me about the chalkboard, but I think he secretly finds my organization endearing.

Monday:  Spaghetti with Ground Turkey Marinara sauce (which has now evolved into Linguine with a Sweet and Savory Sauce (with lean ground turkey, baby spinach and raisins--stay tuned for more on this...)
Tuesday: Fish and Sauteed Veggies
Wednesday: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Thursday: Shrimp Tacos
Friday:  Movie and Dinner Out
Saturday:  Sushi Night at home with some friends

I also need to make something for a potluck at work on Thursday, as well as a birthday dessert for Jamie, which we'll have on Saturday night.  So I've got a lot to plan this week, but I'm looking forward to it!

So, while I make pasta tonight, Jamie's supposed to be deciding on a dessert for this weekend--I'm looking forward to seeing what he picks...