I forewarn you, the meat I’m referring to in this recipe is liver. If you despise it, then it’s probably best to move on, or substitute ground beef or turkey in its place. Using chicken liver (or in this case, leftover chicken liver pate) in a maranara sauce is a wonderful way to add nutrition and depth of flavor. The soft consistency of the chicken liver means that it will meld seamlessly into the tomato sauce, making it thicker and more flavorful. What I love about this pasta fix is the sauce is a dead-ringer for the kind that’s been thickening and simmering for days on the stove. And it’s completed in all of 20 minutes.
This recipe is a prime example of why I keep a well-stocked pantry. Cans of tomato sauce and bags of pasta are essential elements because they make meals in a flash. The liver part, however, was inspired by holiday leftovers who didn’t have much time left on the clock.
If you just can’t bear to eat liver, use ground beef or turkey, pureed into as much of a paste as possible in a food processor. Add a little marinara if necessary, and then mix it in with the rest of the sauce. The smoothness of a thick, pungent sauce over pasta is delightful and the way I chose to indulge in lunch this afternoon.
Gluten-Free Pasta with Meat Sauce
1 cup uncooked gluten-free pasta (for this recipe I used Sam Mills Corn Pasta in a shape they call ‘Lasagne Corte.’ They looked like wide egg noodles, but any short pasta works)
Chicken or Vegetable broth (homemade or boullion)
About a cup of tomato sauce (I use Tutto Rosso or Hunt’s)
1/2-3/4 cup chicken liver pate or cooked chicken livers
Salt to taste
Note: I’m in ‘watching my fat intake mode’ today so I didn’t add olive oil. I decided there’s enough fat in the chicken liver to suffice, but feel free to drizzle some extra-virgin as a finishing touch)
Heat about a cup of the chicken stock in a non-stick sauce pan over medium heat. Once bubbling, add the uncooked pasta. There should be enough liquid to barely cover it. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring every minute or so. You’re cooking the pasta risotto-style so the liquid is meant to absorb and you must stir regularly so the pieces won’t stick together. After 6 minutes, do a tooth check. The pasta should be firm (al dente) but not tough. It will continue to soften after marinara is added so don’t cook too thoroughly.
Turning the heat back to medium-low, add the marinara and liver and mix thoroughly. The pasta will absorb a little of the meat sauce, but the goal is a nice, voluptuous sauce, so don’t overcook. Serve immediately and seize the day!
A hot bowl of Pasta Bolognese, clean-eating style. Comforting on so many levels….