Monday, July 25, 2011

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I know it may seem unnecessary to post a recipe for spaghetti with meat sauce. You're probably thinking, "Really? How hard could it be?" Well, I can definitely admit to searching and searching for the perfect homemade sauce. The stuff that comes in jars can be good,  but there is so much extra junk added in the mix that really doesn't need to be there. Also, the price. It can get pretty expensive to buy the quality sauces.

After numerous sauces and various experimentation, I've finally created a sauce that I am completely satisfied with. In my personal opinion, and Ryan's too, this is the best sauce EVER! Now I know everyone has different tastes, and some may already have a "best sauce EVER" that they would defend to the end. However, for those of you in search of an easy, flavorful, inexpensive sauce, this recipe is for you! Feel free to change things up too. The fun with cooking is the experimentation!

1 lb ground beef (or chicken, turkey, etc.)
1 medium-large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 8oz cans of tomato sauce (or one large can - approx 24-28oz. Small ones just happened to be on sale)
1 6oz can of tomato paste (because I like my sauce a little thicker)
1 6.5oz can of mushrooms, diced (fresh would be awesome as well - I only had canned)
1 tsp dried basil*
1/2 tsp dried oregano*
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp sugar (depending on personal tastes)
Black pepper to taste
Couple shakes of crushed red pepper (optional)

Begin with browning the meat. Once the meat is fully cooked, drain off any excess grease and return to pan. With the heat set to high, add the diced onions. Cook for a few minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Next throw in the minced garlic. When the mixture becomes fragrant, add in the other ingredients.

Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, mushrooms**, and spice mixture. I personally like to combine all of my spices beforehand. This is just personal preference though. Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat. At this point, the sauce is technically ready to serve. However, I like to let it simmer for awhile so everything can mesh together nicely. If you go that route, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover, stirring occasionally. Depending on how hungry I am and how much time I have, I would let it simmer anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

Once the sauce is to your liking, grab a pile of spaghetti, add a generous serving of this meat sauce and a heaping handful of Parmesan cheese (that is, if you are a cheese fiend like me). If you want to get all fancy, you can top the dish with a couple leaves of basil. This treacherous Midwest heat did my basil plant in though, so no fanciness here.

To save time in the future, go ahead and make a double batch of the sauce and freeze it in an airtight container. Before freezing, make sure the sauce has cooled completely. Savour at a later date!!

*Remember - Dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh herbs. When substituting fresh for dried, you will need to increase the amount you are using.
** If you are using fresh mushrooms, add them to the mix with the onions

Recipe Source: My Imagination

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