I think everyone has a favorite go-to tomato sauce for their pasta. This sauce is my variation on spaghetti and meatballs. If you’ve never made your own sauce, don’t be intimidated! It doesn’t take more than a couple of hours to make (and it takes less than an hour if you use ground beef instead of cubed meat), and it’s so much better than jarred sauces! This sauce gets real depth of flavor and a touch of sweetness (to balance out the tomatoes’ acidity) from the almost-caramelized onions.
Spaghetti with Homemade Meat Sauce
(Yield: ~14 servings)
1 ¾ lb beef, trimmed of fat and diced into ¼” cubes (or you can use ground meat)
2 TB olive oil, divided
½ tsp salt
2 small-medium onions, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can Redpack petite diced tomatoes (with the juice)
6 oz can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 cubes beef bouillon
1 TB dried basil
½ TB dried oregano
½ TB Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ c minced fresh parsley
~2 lb pasta (I use either Ronzoni Smart Taste (pictured) or Barilla Plus)
Brown the beef in 1 TB of oil over medium-high heat. Add the salt to the beef, add enough water to just cover the beef, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for ~1 hour (if there’s still more than ½ c of water in the pot after simmering for 1 hour, remove the lid and simmer for another 15 minutes). (If you’re using ground beef, just brown up the beef and proceed with the rest of the recipe…there’s no need to let it simmer for an hour.)
In a separate pot, sauté the onions and garlic in 1 TB of oil for 10-15 minutes over low heat until the onions are soft and translucent and almost caramelized. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, bouillon, dried basil, dried oregano, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper, and cook over medium heat for ~15 minutes. Turn off the heat, and stir in the parsley and meat.
Prepare the pasta al dente according to the package instructions. Combine the sauce with the pasta and serve.
Garnish Ideas: A sprig of fresh parsley, minced fresh parsley, fresh shaved Parmesan cheese, or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.