One of my most favorite meals is spaghetti and meat sauce. It's one of my favorite winter time meals because it's so hearty and can stand alone. Nothing beats a nice big bowl of pasta and meat sauce, coupled with some good quality crusty bread and a glass of red wine.
However, if it's done badly, i.e. too watery or not meaty enough, it's just plain bad. There is nothing worse than a puddle of watery tomato water under a pile of pasta. It's just gross. That's why I really don't like bottled sauces.
Over the years I've worked on my recipe and I've gotten it to the point that when I make it, my children get so excited for dinner, and my husband absolutely loves it.
It's super simple, but there are a few tricks to make sure it comes out just right. And there's no measuring.
1lb lean ground beef
2 cans plain tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 can water
1 green pepper chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic (or garlic powder)
chopped fresh mushrooms or canned mushrooms (optional)
2 bay leaves
1-2 Tbsp sugar
Brown beef in pot on stove
Meanwhile, chopped green pepper, onion, and garlic and set aside.
When meat is browned, drain the fat. I use a baster to do this. Usually I drain and rinse the beef, but I have found that just taking some of the fat out and not rinsing makes for a more meaty flavor.
Add veggies and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 cans of tomato sauce, 1/2 cans of water, diced tomatoes, tomato paste. Stir well.
Add the spices- basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and finally sugar. Sugar is the key as it cuts the acid.
Stir well, and let simmer on low on the stove for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.