Solar Pasta Sauce with Beef Short Ribs

I got the idea for this sauce from my favorite local Italian restaurant, Franco Trattoria in Whittier. It’s a lot less labor intensive than regular bolognese and just as tasty. Like any good meat sauce it needs to simmer for at least three hours and only gets better if it cooks even longer.

Slow Simmered Sun Oven Tomato Sauce with Short Ribs

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 boneless beef short ribs (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

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Tips for the Perfect Sun Oven Meat Loaf

I read somewhere that meat loaf is one of America’s twelve most popular foods.

Cooking it in the Sun Oven is a good way to ensure it maintains its high ranking.

Given that it is so popular I’m sure most of you have your own favorite recipe.

To adapt yours for solar cooking you’ll only need to find a way to cover it. You could always go the aluminum foil and tea towel route, but I prefer to use an oval roasting pan. Mine is 14 inches long and just fits in the cooking chamber by placing it on the leveling tray on a diagonal.

It’s big enough to hold a standard bread pan with room for potatoes around the sides. The meat loaf comes out nicely browned and any juices that might overflow will be caught in the roasting pan.

For a larger loaf I line the roasting pan with foil and bake it without the bread pan. The foil makes it easy to lift the meat loaf out and the pan keeps the juices out of the Sun Oven’s cooking chamber. On a final note, my two favorite meat loaf recipes can be found here and here.

Solar Beef Stew

The stacking pots that come with the Sun Oven accessory package are ideal for preparing this stew. If you don’t have them, or any other stackable pots, the carrots can be cooked in the same pot as the meat. Add them towards the end of the cooking time so they don’t get too mushy. I like to cook them separately so they retain their color.

Double-Decker Sun Oven Beef Stew

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed of fat and patted dry

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

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Solar Short Ribs

I’ve never made short ribs in anything other than my Sun Oven so I can’t really compare them to those prepared in a traditional oven or a slow-cooker. I can compare them to the ones I’ve had in restaurants. They’re just as good and a whole lot cheaper.

Sun Oven Braised Short Ribs with Herbes de Provence

Ingredients

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds short ribs

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 onions, sliced

2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, chopped

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Solar Simmered Classic Beef Broth

Almost every Sunday in kitchens across Northern Italy you’ll find a large pot of “Brodo di Carne” simmering on the stove.

The broth is used throughout the week in risottos and soups.

The meat is sliced up and served with pesto like sauce called “Salsa Verde” (not to be confused with the Mexican salsa of the same name) or “mostarda di cremona”.

I like to use the meat for sandwiches to go into packed lunches.

Sun Oven Italian Meat Broth

Ingredients

For the Broth

4 pounds beef chuck, with bone

2 small onions, peeled

2 carrots, peeled

2 celery stalks, with leaves

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Solar Pot Roast

The moist, gentle heat of the Sun Oven is ideal for pot roast. A heavy cast iron Dutch oven is the best pot to use as it can be difficult to brown the meat in the light weight pots typically used for Sun Oven cooking.

Solar Braised Pot Roast

Ingredients

3 1/2 pound boneless chuck roast

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon herbs de Provence

Kosher salt

Pepper

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

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Pasta and Meatballs All in One Pot

I’d be the first to admit that pasta, with the exception of baked pasta dishes such as lasagna or macaroni and cheese, is better when cooked the traditional way; in a large pot of rapidly boiling water. However, it is possible to make decent pasta in the Sun Oven. I’d just say it’s something I’d save for emergency situations, camping, or when I need something to blog about.

One Pot Sun Oven Pasta and Meatballs

Ingredients

2 cups pasta, cavatappi or fusilli

1 tablespoon olive oil

2/3 cup water

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Solar Italian-Style Meat Loaf

This is my favorite meat loaf recipe. It’s from the 1995 edition of the “Toaster Oven Cookbook” and is the only surviving page of my copy. It goes great with pasta and tomato sauce. Any leftovers can be used in sandwiches.

Solar Italian-Style Meat Loaf

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 egg, beaten

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Weeknight Dinner from Solar Leftovers

It’s still cloudy here in southern California today but tonight’s ragù was made with leftovers from the solar braised ribs I blogged about yesterday. Paired with a salad and a good glass of wine it makes a great weeknight dinner. Make sure to set aside 1 cup of the onions and 1 cup of the sauce from the ribs to make this sauce. It’s more than enough for a pound of rigatoni.

Rigatoni with Beef Ragù

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup cooked onions leftover from braised chuck ribs

 

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 (14 ounce can) strained tomatoes

5 ounces leftover braised chuck ribs, shredded

1 cup leftover sauce from chuck ribs

2 tablespoons butter

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

1 pound rigatoni prepared according to the instructions on the package

Preparation

Heat the oil and the garlic in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the tomato paste. Stir in the cooked onions and the wine and cook until the wine evaporates. Stir in the tomatoes, the shredded meat, and the leftover sauce. Simmer until thickened, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Toss the sauce with the butter and rigatoni. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately.

 

 

 

Onion Braised Chuck Short Ribs

The past two days have been cloudy here but thanks to modern weather forecasting, a little planning, and some reheating we were still able to enjoy solar cooked meals. I got this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s “The Best Make-Ahead Recipe” cookbook. It called for beef brisket but I couldn’t find any that wasn’t brined for corned beef. I used boneless chuck short ribs instead. Using short ribs makes it easier to adapt the recipe to the number of portions you want to make. Just calculate one rib per person and adjust the other ingredients accordingly. Make enough for leftovers of the sauce, onions, and ribs; they can be used for French dip sandwiches or pasta sauce later in the week.

Ingredients

4 to 5 pounds boneless beef chuck ribs

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

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