Caveman Cuisine: Veni-Naghetti
I have always found making a "semi-homemade" spaghetti sauce from canned crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and fresh herbs to be an easy and delicious way to get my pasta sauce fix. I suppose it should really be called "squash sauce", but I digress. Recently, however, I have begun to wonder if, in addition to "easy and delicious", this is also less healthful that some pre-made options.
While I despise the fact that most ready made pasta sauces contain a large amount of added sugar (sometimes as much as 15gms of high fructose corn syrup per serving, speaking of which, Newman's Own and Emeril should be ashamed), industrial seed oils (like canola and soy oil), and so-called "natural" flavors, making your own from canned tomatoes might be just as bad of an idea.
In a Prevention.com article titled "7 Foods That Should Never Cross Your Lips", Univeristy of Missouri endocrinologist Fredrick Vom Saal, made the following comment:
"You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young...I won't go near canned tomatoes."
Here I thought I was being healthful with my food choices and yet I was inadvertently exposing myself to high levels of a toxic chemical that has been strongly linked to "developmental problems as well as a variety of adult health concerns, including erectile dysfunction, breast cancer, heart disease, and diabetes"?!
Feeling the PR heat, companies like General Mills (producer of "Muir Glen" organic tomato products) have resolved to eliminate BPA from their cans, but another option, and one I am personally in favor of, is to avoid canned foods entirely (barring a zombie apocalypse or some other such end-of-days scenario of course).
Lacking any fresh tomatoes, I went with a quality jarred option that was free of HFCS and other such nasty ingredients for this venison "naghetti" ("not spaghetti") recipe. The result was an easy, delicious, AND healthful meal!
1/2 jar quality tomato sauce (glass jar, no HFCS, industrial oil, etc.)
1lb ground venison (grass-fed beef would work as well)
2 tbsp Parmesan or Romano cheese (freshly grated)
1 medium spaghetti squash (halved with seeds removed).
Butter or some other animal fat (for the roasting the spaghetti squash)
"Italian Seasoning" (dried oregano, basil, and parsley)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Begin by roasting the spaghetti squash (directions here). While the spaghetti squash roasts, bring a saucepan up to medium heat and add venison. When the meat is cooked through, add the tomato sauce (you can add more than 1/2 a jar, but I like my sauce X-tra meaty) and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding additional Italian seasoning if necessary.
When the squash is ready, remove the flesh with a fork and plate. Top with meat sauce and freshly grated cheese.