This is a recipe for a simple little pasta dish with a spicy twist. Buffalo has lower fat, lower cholesterol, lower calories, and higher protein and iron content when compared to beef. It also has a lovely texture and distinctive flavor that isn't overpowering. Orecchietta is used because the shape holds the sauce well and its flavor balances the sharpness of the sauce.
1 lb ground buffalo
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
2 fresh tomatoes
8 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic
1/2 medium white onion
2 tsp hot sauce, such as Arizona Gunslinger
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup merlot
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
Put on the water for the pasta and salt it. Bring to a boil as you're working on the rest. You can make the sauce in the time it takes for the water to come up and the pasta to cook.
Heat one tbsp of the olive oil in a medium heavy sauce pan. Add the buffalo and brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper as it browns.
Add the can of tomatoes. Break them up with your spoon. Chop the garlic and add to the sauce along with the remaining olive oil.
Chop the onion; don't dice it. Add to the sauce.
Add the red pepper flakes, the hot sauce, the cayenne, and the mustard, stirring well. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes.
Chunk the fresh tomatoes. Add them and the tomato paste.
Add the thyme all at once in a bunch, laying it on top of the sauce. Cover and turn up the
heat for a couple of minutes. Uncover and remove and discard the thyme.
Add the merlot.
Let sauce simmer on medium-low, stirring occasionally while the orecchietta boils for 11 minutes. The sauce should be ready when the pasta is done.
Cooking the sauce in this way is not only easy and quick, it layers the flavors so you really taste the sauce in waves.
Serve with a light, bright, crisp salad.