Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spaghetti With Meat Sauce

I've been hanging out a lot on Facebook lately. And so has Elle, from Elle's New England Kitchen. This past week she posted a picture (only on Facebook) of a rigatoni she made, and it looked really good. Shall we say that she inspired Inspired Bites? Yes!

So when we made plans for friends to come over for dinner and board games (and drinks!), I decided to make something similar.

I'll admit to you all that I didn't want to make dinner. It has been a really long, hard week, making midterms for 3 different levels of classes. I didn't stop working last night until 7:30 when the school musical began. I left school at 10:15 that night wondering what we'd do for dinner. But in talking to my friend about possibilities to order out, it became clear that I would need to cook. Living out in the boonies, we don't have too many choices, and I will not eat take out pizza with a bread crust and canned mushrooms.

I threw this together on Saturday afternoon and it made for a fabulous dinner. Joe made a garlic bread with naan, and we had a great bottle of dry red wine. Karen made a wonderful salad with toasted pine nuts, artichoke hearts, cucumber and tomatoes. We sprinkled balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil over the top.

I'm going to eat every bit of the leftovers. I'm pretty proud of myself since I didn't use a recipe, instead making this one as I went along.

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped sweet onion (I loves me some sauteed onion)
4 chopped cloves of garlic
8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup tomato paste
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.25 lb ground beef (85% fat)
1 (1.5 ounce) rind of Parmesan cheese)

one 2/3 ounce package fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
salt, again, to taste (my taste was 1/2 teaspoon)

Add the 2 cans of crushed tomatoes to a dutch oven. It should be good and deep - my sauce tended to splatter, even on a low heat. Begin heating it up on a medium-low heat.

Saute the onions and pepper in the olive oil on a medium-high flame. Add the garlic towards the end.

Place it in the pot with the tomato sauce.

Saute the mushrooms. Add it to the sauce pot.

Brown the beef. Pour it and the juices into the sauce pot.

Add the wine, basil, tomato paste, and the rind of cheese. Stir it, cover the pot, and cook on low for 2 hours. Remove whatever rind has remained. Much of it will disintegrate into the sauce and flavor it wonderfully. Here's what mine looked like:

You should taste the sauce as you go and season it with salt and pepper to your liking. Depending on which type of cheese you use, you may not even need salt! My cheese wasn't salty, I guess, and not all of it fell apart, so this is when I added another 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

I used linguine instead of spaghetti. It's a little bit wider and flatter, but not as much as fettuccine. I like it.

Serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top.

Mmmm, that's good stuff!

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I've been hanging out a lot on Facebook lately ...

See Spaghetti with Meat Sauce on Key Ingredient.


Anonymous said...

I would clean the plate! Please pass the bread :)

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Hola Meryl. Great spaghetti recipe. I love all things pasta. Hope the weather is treating you guys a little bit better. Stay warm my friend.

recipes2share said...

Looks fantastic - and love the photos!

Foodycat said...

It sounds like an excellent meal - and I love that last photo with the pasta twirled on the fork! So professional!

Kevin said...

That pasta looks good!

Kathy said...

hi! I am a 20 year-old college student from Long Beach, CA. I know absolutely nothing about cooking but decided to try and woo my significant other with some pasta. I used your recipe and it was aaaaaamazing.

I followed your directions and the meal was nothing short of PERFECT. Thank you so much and pleeease keep posting. I'm doing the moules next!



Jeremy said...

I'm making this tomorrow. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

Amber said...

I love homemade spaghetti sauce...unfortunately, it's been so long since I've made some. I look forward to trying this one. Looks delicious!

Kalena Michele said...

Hello! I just found your blog and I love it :) I love to cook also and I was searching for a recipe for spaghetti and meat sauce on Google and this came up in the list. Very happy I found it. I'll be back to check it out :)