January 21, 2011

Match Meat Italian Sausage

A while back, a reader of mine suggested I try Match Meat. I managed to find it at a store near me, but they only carried one variety - Italian Sausage. The website had a few different recipe ideas for using this product, but I went with my own recipe.

I decided to just thaw it out, and use it in its crumbled form in a baked pasta. I did some recipe searching, and found one that sounded pretty good, but then I modified the heck out of it, so instead of linking to it, I'll just write up my version after the review.

I'm not going to tease you with all my preparation stories. I'm just going to dive right in to the review. This stuff was good. The texture was nice and chewy, it had a strong fennel flavor with a bit of spiciness which I expect from Italian sausage. Alone it was a little weird, but it's not really eaten alone. With the tomato sauce and the cheese, it was awesome. And that's about all I have to say about that.

The experience:
Texture - chewy in a good way
Flavor - a little odd alone, but with the meal, lots of fennel flavor and a little spiciness.

Final grade for this attempt: A

And now, the recipe:

Baked Cheesy Pasta with Italian Sausage
Serves 6-8 hungry people

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lb Match Meat Italian Sausage, crumbled
2 jars spaghetti sauce (whatever flavors you have around)
1 lb pasta (I used penne, but zit or rotini would be good too)
6 oz provolone cheese, shredded
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup low-fat sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Put a pot of water on for the pasta and start to heat that up while you do the next parts.

Cook the onion and bell pepper in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the crumbled Match Meat and cook until warm and slightly firmer, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the two jars of sauce, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.

Hopefully, your water is boiling at this point, so go ahead and throw in your pasta. Whatever the directions on the box say for cooking time, subtract about 2 minutes. You don't want the pasta to come out fully cooked, because you're going to cook it some more in the oven, and it'll come out mushy if you boil the pasta all the way.

While the pasta is cooking and the sauce is simmering, stir together your three cheeses.

Once the pasta is done, drain it and dump it into a really big bowl. Then add the sauce to the pasta and stir to coat all the pasta. Next up, stir in about two-thirds of the cheese mixture, and the sour cream. Dump this glorious combination into a 9x13" pan (hopefully it'll all fit!) and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with foil (either non-stick foil, or regular foil that you've sprayed with cooking spray so the cheese doesn't stick to it) and bake for about 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil (fingers crossed for no stuck cheese) and bake until the cheese browns slightly, about 10 more minutes. You can also broil it to make this part go faster, but my broiler is scary, so I don't use it.

Take it out of the oven and let it sit a few minutes if you can, then dig in!

4 comments:

  1. I Like this from the website: "MATCH® premium meat alternative looks like meat. It tastes like meat. It prepares like meat. Because it is meat – from a healthier source."

    Yeah...

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  2. Yeah - that's pretty out there. More like, "Because it is meat. Only not at all." Or maybe, "Vegetable meat!"

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  3. This pasta was, by the way, extremely awesome. Short of the occasional fake meat taco and BBQ riblet, it's probably the best fake meat meal that I've ever had. Great stuff!

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  4. I was going to order this online but holy christ! the shipping nearly made me stroke out!

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