Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Ahhh...spaghetti.  There is no better comfort food in my book on a rainy, fall day than a big plate of spaghetti with meat sauce. The aroma fills the house as it simmers for two hours on the stove.  It puts a smile on everyone's face when they walk through the door and ask "Spaghetti, tonight?" Yes, children, yes.

My mother has been making this sauce for as long as I can remember. There's nothing terribly special about it, but it hits the spot every time. And, she can probably tell you she got the same reactions as I do when we walked in the door.

Only a few steps are involved with everything in one pot. You can start it in the late afternoon and leave it simmering on the stove for a couple of hours before dinner time. Simple, simple and soooo good.

1 to 2 pounds of ground beef (if you're not worried about the fat, go for the 83% ground beef; the fattier beef selections are better for making sauces because of the rich flavor they add to the taste)
1 Onion (white or yellow)
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup of dried parsley or 1 cup of freshly cut flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon of dried sage
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes, drained

Slice onion into thin slices and break slices apart.

In a stock pot, add the ground beef, the onions, garlic powder, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Brown the beef mixture at medium temperature until the pink disappears.

Add the herbs, including your two bay leaves.  If using fresh parsley, make sure to chop it into little pieces and remove the stems.  No one wants to bite down on a parsley stem! Stir the herbs into the ground beef mixture and allow to soak into the meat for about 3 minutes.

Next, add the tomato sauce and drained, canned tomatoes. Stir it all in.  Your sauce should look something like this:
Put a lid on the pot and turn the temperature down to low or medium-low, making sure the sauce is simmering.  Let it simmer for two hours. I also like to check on it every now and then and give it a good stir. Not only do I like to open the pot and let the smells fill up the house, but I also like to take a taste and make sure it's not burning on the bottom. Burnt pieces of spaghetti do NOT taste good. Been there and done that!

When it's finished, give it another good stir and break apart the tomatoes to let their juices flow into the sauce. If ready, the tomatoes will practically pop in their excitement.
Cook the spaghetti following your package directions and spoon the sauce onto a big bowl of noodles.
Sprinkle some parmesan on top and smile!