Saturday, February 8, 2014
Zesty Meat Sauce for Spaghetti & Pasta
My homemade meat sauce is not just for spaghetti of course: Use with any type of pasta including lasagna or stuffed shells, or in casseroles or other baked dishes calling for a tomato meat sauce, or with low-carb alternatives to wheat pasta like spaghetti squash as shown in the photo on the left. I used naturally lean grass-fed organic beef in my sauce, but you can use regular ground beef (be sure to drain off excess fat after browning). Instead of ground beef, you could substitute ground venison or other game meats (e.g., bison or buffalo, elk), ground pork, or a combination of ground meats. For additional variety of flavor, I've suggested alternatives to regular canned tomatoes and tomato paste.
My recipe easily serves 8 or more, and the leftover sauce will keep in your refrigerator for a few days. I bet it will freeze, too, although I haven't tried that. If you're a home canner, make a large batch to can for later use.
2 or 3 Tbs olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
1 28oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted for richer, smoky flavor)
1/2 cup red wine
1 Tbs tomato paste, sun-dried tomato paste OR paprika paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp (or to taste) crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Stir in all remaining ingredients except parsley. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat to keep at a gentle simmer, for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve, whichever is longer. As long as you keep the pot on a low, gentle simmer, the sauce can continue to cook for a few hours -- you can also partially or fully cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to low to keep the sauce from scorching if it's going to sit for several hours. Don't forget to stir from time to time. Before serving, stir in the parsley and taste for balance, then adjust seasonings to taste if necessary. Makes about 7 or 8 cups of meat sauce.
PS: If you want to spice things up, use a straightforward medium to hot savory pepper sauce at the table. Good choices would be Tabasco Sauce, Texas Pete, Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce, or Scorned Woman Hot Sauce.