I don't really like to cook on Sunday evenings, preferring to either whip something up that is quick and tasty (see: French Toast Sandwiches), or starting something in the afternoon that can be left alone to simmer until I'm good and ready. Ideally, the kitchen is cleaned up before dinner is even served, leaving me to eat an early dinner, happily watch television and loaf around on the couch. Ah, Sundays.
I make this meat sauce every couple of months or so, since I almost always have the ingredients on hand (I tend to keep a couple of pounds of ground beef in the freezer), it freezes well and makes great leftovers, and Chris really likes it. You will see that it is pretty easy, not a lot of chopping to worry about, and I like the simplicity of the flavors. However, I also just adore pasta, so it is pretty easy to make me happy. This recipe doubles and triples well.
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
serves 2-3 with leftovers
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tsp whole mixed pickling spice
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch ground cinnamon
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 14-oz. can petite diced tomatoes, with juice
freshly ground pepper
pinch dried basil
1 beef bouillion cube
1 generous Tbsp red wine vinegar
splash basalmic vinegar
1 cup water
8 oz. spaghetti
parmesan cheese for topping
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic, saute 1 minute longer. Remove onions and garlic from pan and set aside. Add a bit more oil if necessary, then add the ground beef and cook until evenly browned. Return the onions and garlic to the pan.
Put the pickling spice and red pepper flakes into a tea ball (or cheesecloth), and add to the pot along with the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, water, vinegar, bouillion, basalmic, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours (you can go longer without consequence). If it is too watery take the lid off for 20 minutes or so. Makes 3 heaping cups.
Cook the spaghetti in salted water until "al dente", drain. Place spaghetti in pasta bowls, top with the meat sauce and some shavings of parmesan. Enjoy!