Everyone who has read my blog more than about a week knows I do not like red sauce. I don’t like spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce – none of those things. As you can imagine, Vince would eat spaghetti and meatballs every day if someone made them for him. He isn’t terribly picky about his food but every time I’ve made spaghetti and meatballs, he will say “It’s good but it isn’t like my dad made.” I think the key word there is DAD . . not mom! Men should do more cooking, especially after they’ve retired.
Meatballs take forever to make. I’ve tried baking them and apparently, according to Vince’s family, that’s a sacrilege. Meatballs must be fried, which means I spend a whole day making meatballs and sauce and then another day cleaning the stove and floor because the grease goes everywhere.
Somehow, some way, thankfully, I’ve concocted a recipe, which really isn’t even a recipe, that Vince loves and asks for again and again and I can tolerate. He really could eat this stuff every night; and on the days we have sauce in the fridge, and I don’t cook pasta, I find him heating up a bowl of sauce, adding a bit of Parmesan cheese and dipping crusty bread in the warm sauce.
I’m almost ashamed to admit how easy this is but here’s what I do:
Two jars (storebought!) marina sauce
1 or 2 – 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes (with the liquid)
1 can beef broth
1 pound Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
2 onions, chopped
¼ cup chopped garlic
1 bell pepper, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 T. fennel seeds
2 T. dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c. parsley, chopped
- Brown the ground beef and Italian sausage.
- Add onions, garlic and bell pepper. Saute til they’re translucent and tender.
- Add sliced mushrooms. Cook about 5 minutes.
- Add the marinara sauce. I think the secret for us is the sauce. We love the Aldi sauce. I use one jar of plain and one jar of Vodka sauce.
- Add the tomatoes and beef broth.
- Stir often and keep the heat low so it doesn’t stick or scorch.
- Add the fennel seeds and oregano.
- Simmer without a lid, on low, for several hours. You want the sauce to be very thick. Add liquid (broth, wine, water) if it gets too thick.
- Add salt & pepper. Taste to see if it needs additional seasonings.
- A few minutes before serving, add parsley.
We had it over mushroom/truffle ravioli (also from Aldi) but we eat it over most any kind of pasta.
The good news: Without making meatballs, the stove isn’t a terrible mess when I’m done and there’s at least 2-1/2 quarts of leftovers. I usually freeze one quart, we have one quart for another meal and Vince will snack on the remaining pint or so.