Monday, April 11, 2011

Back to Basics.....Pasta with Meat Sauce

I am probably the last person on earth that you should get advice from for spaghetti sauce. Up until two years ago I couldn't make a good sauce to save my life. I just couldn't, I was one of those people who bought the jarred stuff. I still have a few jars in my house, but those are for backup when we don't have power because of bad storms. You know the ones where we are left without power for a week, when the kids start asking for something other than soup and crackers. Well we are working on getting a generator, it's going to take some time. Sorry tangent...back to the sauce. Then I stumbled across a recipe from Pioneer Woman and made it. It was great, but it had a few drawbacks. Hubby said way to many onions and the tomato chunks were to big for him. Those things were simple fixes. Then I changed a few more things, and then a few more, then rather it being the recipe I started with, now it has very little in common at all except they are both red sauce and you top pasta with it. I can honestly say I have a great spaghetti sauce. It only took 9 years...way to long.

It is super simple, it takes some time and the longer you let it cook the better it gets, but it can be made in less than 30 minutes if you are in a rush, but it is best if cooked for 1 1/2 hours. One of the best parts of this recipe is that you can make it in the morning then put it in your crock pot to simmer slowly until you are ready. I do this during baseball season since it makes a great make ahead meal, all I have to do is cook the pasta when we get home and we have a hot yummy dinner.

It does make quite a bit, you could put half in the freezer for the next time you are in the mood for spaghetti or it makes a great sauce for lasagna. For us I turn the second half into baked spaghetti later in the week. It's a great budget friendly meal since you get two for one.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
makes 10 servings

1 cups diced onion
3 garlic cloves
1 pound hamburger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 8oz can tomato sauce no salt added
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes.
1/2 to 1 1/2 cups water

In a heavy bottom pan or dutch oven combine meat and onion, cook on medium high until the onions start to become soft and the meat is mostly cooked. Then add in the tomato paste, garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until onions are completely soft, meat is cooked through. Next add in the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Add water to the cans and add that in to the pot too, (good things you don't want to waste) now if you are in a hurry don't add more than 1/2 cup of water. You want your sauce to be thick which is why I cook it so long plus all the flavors really develop over that 1 1/2 hours to really make a great sauce. Stir well to mix everything together bring to simmer then turn down heat to medium-low. Cover pot and let go for 20 minutes then come back and give it a good stir. If it is still looking good put the lid back on and let cook for another 20 minutes then stir again. You might have to adjust your heat, depends on your stove. You want it to simmer but you don't want it to burn or stick. After the second stir put the lid back on but only 3/4 of the way, you want some moisture to escape. Stir every 20 min until desired consistency.

In another pot cook pasta per directions on box. I like to use a rotini noodles, the sauce gets in the curves and twists and is just yummy.  This time I used rigatoni because it is what I grabbed in the cupboard. When pasta is done drain and add to the sauce. Give it a good stir and serve.

Top with good Parmesan cheese.


1 comment:

  1. Looks yummy.
    I have several good recipes for homemade sauce -One is a secret recipe from my brother-in-law, entitled "Nonnie's Red Sauce" and the other I recently stumbled across when making a Chicken Parmesan Recipe from Martha Stewart Magazine. That one in particular, my husband raved about - as tasting just like a favorite sauce from a favorite Italian restaurant ~ Maggianos. I will tell you that two "secret" ingredients in the Nonnie's sauce, that I now sprinkle into all of my sauces, including storebought ones that I use in a pinch but always spruce up with my own ingredients, are - Nutmeg and Allspice. ;)


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