My Mom made pretty much everything from scratch. We didn’t eat much that was pre-packaged, boxed or canned. The one exception to that was sauce. We always had jarred spaghetti sauce. It’s not bad, and we’ve found some that we really like, but there is nothing like good homemade tomato sauce. I’ve tried a few recipes and never been thrilled with them. What I really need is a recipe from a nice little Italian Grandma. Unfortunately I don’t know any, and anyone who is Italian that I ask says that the recipe isn’t written down and nobody can reproduce it. Grrrrr.
Last night, I think I had a dream about tomato sauce. (Is that sad?) I’m not sure if it was a dream or if I woke up in the night thinking about it randomly, but sometime in the night I had thoughts of tomato sauce in my head. When I woke up this morning, I was determined to find a good recipe and make it for dinner tonight. Last week, along with our oh-so-cute-aprons, my friends Erin and Amanda gave me The Newlywed Cookbook by Robin Miller. Robin Miller is a cook on the Food Network and has some pretty good recipes. This cookbook is chock full of stuff that looks really good. The recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese sounded kind of like what I was looking for. Here it is:
2 t olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes (I added a lot more)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 c beef broth
2 T tomato paste
1 lb cooked spaghetti (or whatever kind of pasta you want!)
2 T grated parm
Heat oil in large saucepan (I used a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and garlic, saute 2 minutes. Add beef and saute until browned and cooked through, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Add basil, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes and stir to coat. Add tomatoes, beef broth, and tomato paste and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer 20 minutes (and up to 1 hour).
Cook pasta according to package directions. Pour sauce over pasta and top with parm.
Ok, so here are the things I did differently. I let it simmer in my Dutch Over for several hours. I added:
1/2 c red wine
an extra tablespoon of tomato paste
1 T + 1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
some black pepper
1 bay leaf
This is pretty good. It’s not some Italian Grandma’s, but it is good and I will make it again unless little Granny shows up on my doorstep with the magic recipe!
** Update: When I wrote this blog, we hadn’t actually had dinner yet, I had just tasted it out of the pot. I don’t think I gave this recipe enough credit. It was really, really good. This will most definitely be my new sauce recipe. Not to say if Granny shows up I won’t give hers a chance, but this was much better than I thought it was going to be. Try it!