Spaghetti with Simple Meat Sauce and Parmesan, accompanied by No-Knead Country Bread
The recipe for this sauce lives in my head, and it changes a bit each time I make it, depending on what kind of tomatoes and meat I have on hand. So I finally wrote it all down for posterity! It is simple, which I love, made with ingredients from the pantry and a pound of ground beef. Comfort food in no time!
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cloves of peeled garlic
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small can tomato paste
1 pound ground beef (A variety of meats may be used, including veal, pork, Italian sausage, or turkey with the beef, just use 1 pound total)
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
6 cups canned tomato puree
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt, to taste
Place the onion, carrot, and garlic in a food processor and process until it becomes a paste.
Heat the oil in a large, shallow pot over medium heat. Add the processed vegetables to the pan and cook until soft and translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook and stir until the tomato paste becomes a copper color. Break the meat up into the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well cooked and the whole mixture is browned. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates. Add the broth, tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, and dried herbs.
Bring to a boil, then reduce a simmer. Cover, and cook over low heat for at least 30 minutes, it is better after an hour. If it is a bit too thin, remove the lid and allow it to reduce to the desired thickness. Too thick for your taste? Thin it with a bit of water. Taste, and adjust the seasonings, adding salt, and even a pinch of sugar, to achieve the perfect balance.