November 21, 2011

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

November's a pretty crazy month to do a food challenge, I think!  I managed it though, even while prepping for Thanksgiving (yes I will have more posts about that)!  November's theme for HH6 is "Coming from your part of the world, create/share your favorite comfort food."

I thought for a while about what to do for this challenge.  I considered biscuits and gravy, as we're moving to the south.  Or maybe apple fritters or fastnachts from my Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.  Or maybe something Mexican since we're currently in the southwest!  When you move around so much, "your part of the world" could mean anything!  As a result, I decided to focus more on the comfort side of the challenge and a few memories were quick to pop to mind.  This summer, when I was at our family's cabin in Pennsylvania, a smell suddenly caught my attention.  It was just spaghetti sauce, but it smelled like the most amazing thing ever and I bugged my aunt and uncle to let me have some of their spaghetti.  Then, when we backpacked the Grand Canyon, day three was our hardest day - from the bottom to the North rim and back down all in one day, nearly 14 miles.  What did we choose to pack for dinner that night?  Spaghetti!  And boy did we eat tons of it!

Spaghetti it was, then.  But how to create the most comforting sauce?  I have several sauces I use, from the fancy roasted garlic to my uncle's decadent baby back rib sauce.  None of them were quite right though.  So I warned my husband that we'd be eating a lot of spaghetti over the next few weeks and set to work.

My first attempt used sausage and roasted garlic.  It was good, but didn't have the flavor profile I was looking for.  My second attempt used beef instead of sausage.  Much closer, but it needed to be simpler.  The best comfort foods are simple, and here the third time  was the charm - a nice, thick, beefy sauce!  Yum!


1 T oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 head garlic, minced
1/2 lb ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
crushed red pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is translucent.  Add the beef and cook until browned.  Pour in sauce and tomatoes.  Season liberally with oregano and cautiously with pepper and red pepper.  Simmer until thickened, 40 minutes or so.  Top with grated parmesan or aged gouda.

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