Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday Night: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

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
sea salt
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!


Fiber said...

The pickling spice is definitely an interesting addition. I'll have to try it and see how it turns out.

Marianne said...

It was a whim, trying that mix, but it works well. It definitely gives the sauce a different element. Let me know if you try it out.

Skeezix said...

Interesting, I never would have thought of pickling spice.

I love spaghetti and meatballs, which is because my mother never made meat sauce. We were a meatball kind of family. I do enjoy the meat sauce now as change up, but still find myself making meatballs most of the time.

Also, I tried twice unsuccessfully to make your oven roasted tomatoes this weekend. My damn oven would not stay at 175, it kept shooting up to 300. Piece of shit. Both times I attempted it I ended up with burned tomatoes.

I've had nothing but trouble with that oven, last month it was so off that I had to crank it up to 500 to get the tempature to hit 350. I called out the oven fixer dude and thought it was all fixed but I guess not.

Skeezix said...

Oh, I'm sure you wanted to know all about my dumb oven drama.

Marianne said...

That would make me positively MENTAL. Seriously, I can't handle a wonky oven. I highly recommend whatever brand I have (I can email you and tell you), it's not fancy or expensive, but it is very reliable.

If you look at what is traditionally in pickling spice, you'll see that it is a nice blend for savory things:

1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon crumbled whole mace
1 teaspoon dill seeds
4 dried bay leaves
1 small piece dried ginger

orangek8 said...

That picture of that spaghetti with meat sauce is seriously like how my mind envisions heaven.

Marianne said...

I really think I could live in a bowl of pasta, don't you, Kate?