Let me just start out by saying I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by this dinner. Sure, I expected to enjoy it a reasonable amount, dutifully eat my leftovers for lunch the next day and move on. Every once in a while though, out of the blue, you stumble on one of life’s tasty little surprises.
Like these Italian Pot Pies. They seem so simple. Onions, carrots, garlic. Ground beef. Tomato sauce. Biscuit topping. Nothing mind-blowing here, right? Well, something magical must happen when you bake these guys, because this is definitely a case of “the sum is great than its parts.” (Either that, or my cute new ramekins are endowed with super powers. Hmm. Hadn’t considered that possibility before.)
They were also incredibly easy. Chop the veggies. Cook for a few minutes, then add the beef. Add the sauce and simmer. Mix up the biscuits. Pour into dishes and bake. Serve with a salad. I even had enough time to wash all of the prep dishes while these guys were baking, which meant that when we were done eating, all I had to do was throw a few things into the dishwasher and move along with my evening. Win win!
Italian Pot Pies
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ground beef
2 cups tomato sauce (I cheated and used a jar of Barilla.)
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled, according to Martha)
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk (I used half and half.)
Preheat oven to 450 and place the rack in the lowest position. (I’m actually not sure why you’d need to move the rack… I did just because I like to follow directions. It may not be necessary though.)
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic to the pot, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4-6 minutes. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Add the beef to the pan and cook until the meat is no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes.
While the meat mixture is simmering, make the biscuits. Place the flour, cheese, baking powder, salt and rosemary in a medium bowl. Whisk briefly to combine, then create a well in the center. Pour the butter and milk into the well. Stir just until the mixture comes together.
Divide the mixture into ramekins and top with spoonfuls of the biscuit dough. (I filled five seven-ounce ramekins; the magazine says it will fill four eight-ounce cups.) Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until topping is golden brown and tests done with a toothpick, about 12 minutes.
From Everyday Food Magazine, December 2008
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