Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spaghetti, UNjarred

Not to say there aren't some recipes in a pinch, which I do use an occasional jar of store-bought basic marinara, THIS is the real deal and a must have if it's to serve as a sauce over noodles. Homemade spaghetti sauce de ma grand-mère, a.k.a Mémé. You'll be hooked and hopefully not go back. (C'mon...with all those accents over the e's I just used, you gotta know this is good. Ha!)

Now, don't be thinkin' this is too time-consuming or anything, just because it's from scratch, 'cause I'm gonna tell you my little tricks/tips that I use, to aim for 10 minute prep, so it can start it's happy little 45 minute simmer. So, yes, you need about an hour from when you plan to serve it if you want the best flavor. But it's mostly just an occasional stir while overseeing some 2nd grader homework time. Ahh, the life of the multi-tasking mommy...

Spaghetti Sauce
What you need:
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 small onion, diced small
2 cans of tomato sauce, 15 oz each or four 8oz cans.
1 can of tomato paste, 6 oz.
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, crushed (I don't know the proper cooking term, but you peel, and give it a little whack with one of the cans of tomato sauce or the flat edge of a knife, so that it's barely, slightly crushed, but still in tact. Obviously, don't eat them if they get into your serving, unless you're like Mr. Wonderful and love eating them whole. He's crazy, but I love him.
3 or 4 bay leaves
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 T. sugar
How you make it:
Here's the time-efficient instructions. Heat up some canola or other veggie oil in saucepan over med-high heat. While it's heating, dice the onion. Sauté the onion till very soft. The longer you let it sauté, the less bitter it will be and more sweet, which really makes a difference in the flavor of the sauce. So, about 5 minutes. Just don't do a quick 60 second sauté, that's all I'm sayin'. Now, to save time, I always use the onion cooking time to measure out all the spices into a little dish, so that when it's time for them, you just dump it all in. You don't have to stir the onion continuously, so it works out for inbetween stirs to put together the garlic, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and sugar and leave in a little bowl to the side.

Add ground beef and break up and cook till browned. (Open tomato sauce and tomato paste cans in between stirs of browning the meat to save time too.) Drain the fat. Turn down heat to med/low, and add sauce and paste and dump in the spices that were set aside. Give it all a good stir and cover for a 30-45 minute simmer, stirring occasionally and turn down heat to low as to not burn the bottom.

Serve over spaghetti noodles topped with some parm. (of course, we used Trader Joe's brown rice version, but whatever you prefer is great, as well.)

We had it with a nice green salad and also some green beans for the youngins who don't usually eat enough salad for my liking.

This may seem long and wordy, but it's just to explain my little time-saving tidbits. It's really pretty basic and I'm sure those out there who have made spaghetti sauce before will probably have a pretty similar, if not identical recipe. There's nothing too surprising here. Except how super-scrumptious it is. :)

Give it a whirl and let me know whatcha think! My Mémé would be so proud.
*Note: You can freeze any extra, (I think it makes quite a bit of sauce for our little fam of three small boys + parents) and do a "leftover spaghetti casserole" by mixing it with some cooked penne pasta and grated parmesean, topped with mozzerella and a little more parm. Bake in the oven on 375 for about 20 min or till heated through. It's basic, but it does the job in a pinch.


  1. I love how you call him Mr.Wonderful and crazy in the same sentence... :) This looks yummy I am loving your blog, I need to go to the store. Like right now!

  2. OH it wasn't the same sentence, darn it. But it was close! :) lol

  3. YES! Go to the store!! Now. :)
    And, he is crazy wonderful. But you grew up with him, so you know...except that he was crazy awful to you. So, maybe not. ;)