Monday, February 15, 2010

My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce & Homemade Pasta

When I was in college, I went through all of my mom's cookbooks one weekend and pulled out all of the recipes that looked easy enough for me to make. One of the gems I came across was this spaghetti sauce, and I've adapted it over the years to our tastes. It is by no means gourmet or in any way authentically Italian. But, I do love it much more than any jarred sauce, and it makes a huge batch at one time, so I can always freeze half. It's a full, hearty sauce, and is just as good on a piece of bread as it is over noodles.

I also finally tried making my own pasta - it's something I've wanted to do for a while, but just haven't taken the time. It was so easy. I know there are still things I can do to make it better (roll it thinner, cut it skinnier), but for a first try, I was very pleased. Because of the addition of AP flour in this recipe, it's also not authentic, but I didn't have enough semolina on hand. I will definitely do an all-semolina (or 00 Italian flour) next time. It really doesn't take much time at all, and I can't wait to try things like ravioli. The recipe I used was found here at AllRecipes - I cut it in half, and we still had more than we could eat. One thing I would suggest is adding more salt to the dough.

Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 10 oz bag of sliced mushrooms
15 oz can tomato sauce
6 oz can tomato paste
1 envelope Italian spaghetti seasoning (in the packet section)
1-2 Tbsp sugar (depending on taste)
salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste

In a skillet, brown ground beef and drain fat. Add onions and green pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer ground beef mixture to sauce pan, and add remaining ingredients. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes - 2 hours.* Serve over pasta. Freezes well.

*You can cook this quickly if needed, but the flavors taste even better after simmering all afternoon.

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