Until I was 6 years old, my father owned and ran a downtown hotel. Consequently, there were many opportunities for us to have dinner in the hotel dining room. Being young, and probably not loving a wide variety of foods, when we ate there I always ordered spaghetti. As an adult looking back I think, “What was the matter with me? I could have been having steak and lobster and all I wanted was spaghetti. What a missed opportunity.”
To some extent my childlike tastes have not changed. I love many types of food now but nothing says comfort to me like spaghetti with a good red sauce. As you know, there are many pre-made sauces on the market; some of them pretty good. But pasta sauces aren’t that difficult to make and the results often score far above store-bought varieties.
Below is a red sauce recipe that my family enjoys on top of spaghetti or in lasagna or baked ziti. It can be made with or without added browned meat. Try this at your house sometime soon. I think you’ll like it.
Spaghetti and Homemade Sauce
- ½ pound browned ground chuck (optional)
- 2 Tb. olive oil
- 1 large onion. finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- ½ (6 oz) can tomato paste
- ½ of 4¼ oz can, chopped ripe olives
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried oregano (You can replace the basil and oregano with 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. They’re not exactly the same but it might keep you from having to buy extra spices.)
- ½ tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- 1 pound spaghetti or pasta of choice, cooked al dente
If adding ground chuck, brown beef in a large skillet and drain well. (I like to put my browned ground beef in a colander after browning and rinse with hot water to remove lots of extra fat. You may loose a little flavor but you won’t miss it in this flavorful sauce.)
In a large medium-large pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and garlic and saute until soft. (about 6 minutes)
Add meat, if you wish, and all remaining ingredients except pasta.
Simmer until sauce is thicken, about 45 minutes.
About 15 minutes before sauce is done prepare pasta according to directions. Drain.
Serve sauce over pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.