In the interest of full disclosure, this started as the sauce Mom would make growing up. You all have certain dishes you grew up on and anything that varies from that in flavor just isn’t the same, right? Well, we had Sunday dinners and couldn’t make plans to go anywhere but our friends were more than welcome to join us and we nearly always ate this spaghetti. I’ve definitely tweaked it to my liking but that’s the beauty of this basic recipe- you can add all sorts of flavors to make it more to your taste. But the base by far beats any canned or jarred sauce on the shelf.
This may look like a lot of ingredients but it really isn’t. Some Italian seasonings and canned tomato products and you’re all set! (I forgot to picture the pound of ground beef, but I think you know what that looks like.)When it comes to tomato sauce and paste, as long as the ingredients list is just that- tomatoes- I don’t see that it matters what the brand is. I buy the store brand, often the no salt added option if it is available.
I usually start the onions a minute or two before the beef so they get that nice transparent look I want. You may want to use a dab of olive oil to prevent sticking. Also key is to not add the garlic until the beef is nearly done. Fresh garlic will just burn if cooked too long.
Thanks to my Sister-in-Law Molly for this step. The little Italian from Louisiana gave me this tip: for more depth of flavor in the tomatoes, nearly burn the paste in the pan. I added the step of including the herbs here to encourage the flavors to blend even more.
Spread the paste around as best you can to get the most out of the flavor. It likes to clump up sometimes but other times, you get it to spread evenly like this 🙂
Looks more like spaghetti sauce once the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce are added. Get the paste well incorporated in this step before adding the beef.
Tip: To make this a 30 minutes or less meal, make sure you start the water heating before you do anything else. It should begin boiling by the time you reach this step. When my now 9 year old was little, I could put her in her play saucer and get about 30 minutes of happy baby twice a day. This usually meant a shower and dinner. That’s how I know this is a 30 minute meal 🙂
This is what your boiling pasta looks like when you take a picture with the flash on…
Meat added. I just love the consistency of this sauce. It coats the pasta perfectly but also leaves some on the plate to be mopped up with your garlic bread. (No, I don’t have a recipe for that- yet!)
Yes, those are an American and British flag… We don’t have any Italian flag picks. But when you see a photo with both flags, it means it is my recipe for our Englishman site. If it only has the Union Jack, that’s all Alex.
And yes, that is a large pile of Parmesan in the middle of the table. But I need it!
If anyone makes this recipe I would love to see some pictures of it, or if you have any tips on improving it please let me know 🙂