I don’t know whether to be happy or sad! I’ve played with and had 25+ years of fun creating my spaghetti sauce recipe, and now… it’s done– – recipe completed – – madly in love with this! Arg, say it isn’t so?!!! Though I’m thrilled beyond belief at the, I guess, “final results”, a part of me is sad that a lifelong work-in-progress is over! Does that make any sense to you, or am I just nuts?! I guess it’s comparable to a GREAT book that you’re sad to read the last page of. Or graduation day from high school. Or leaving the theatre after watching a classic movie for the first time like, “Gone with the Wind”. Ok, my sauce doesn’t compare to that movie, lol, but you know what I mean? The finality is sad in that, there will be no more playing and experimenting, adjusting and reinventing, tasting and re-tasting. BUT, on the flip-side, I guess I should be a bit proud, (going against my nature to say), and just admit, “Ok, you finally did it, now move on and perfect something else!” And that is precisely what I’ll do!! But for now, we are enjoying this IMMENSELY. I swear to you, I’m a perfectionist to a fault, OCD from holy hell when it comes to cooking, and for me to say that this “is it”, almost never happens. I mean NEVER. But this IS it.
I have designed this recipe over the years to our specific likes and taste buds, so you may want to play a bit yourself and use this as your own starting point and perfect your own sauce to your personal taste buds. But once you taste this sauce, after the simmering time for all to come together, I think you’re going to be as pleased as I was. (Try not to lick the back, front and all sides of the spoon during all of the simmering and stirring time! 😉 You KNOW you do it, too!!) It’s just simply that good!! And served with homemade garlic bread, made with fresh french bread, real butter from Wisconsin made by an Amish family, and sprinkled with Italian herbs was the perfect, over-the-top, compliment! We both prefer thin spaghetti for this, and cooked al dente. There’s no disaster worse than serving a great sauce over the wrong pasta, and a crime to serve it on over-cooked, mushy-slimy noodles! UGH! The only fully-reliable, commercially made, dried pasta I’ve found that I can always count on, is Barilla. I’ve never once had any trouble using theirs, unlike a lot of others. Of course, commercially made must not hold a “fork and spoon” to homemade….sooo…maybe that will be my next “OCD” endeavor! To make my own homemade pasta! I don’t think anything could befriend the sauce better!
So, I’ll happily leave you with this, let’s be real, 30 year recipe in the making that will have you and your family, friends and guests, SWOONING! (NOT kidding!), classic spaghetti sauce recipe that I have put my heart and soul into for so many years and is now ready, and humbly proud, to finally share! Enjoy all, and take time to appreciate the littlest of things! As they truly are the most important and the only ones that really matter! 😉 🙂
Update: Proud to be the first Spotlight Fan for Hunt’s!!! 😀
*Helpful Pasta Chart below!
- FOR MEAT MIXTURE:
- 2 – 2.25 lbs. ground beef (*the pkgs. we buy are always 2.25 lbs.)
- ½ lb. mild Italian sausage
- 1 large onion, large diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced (no membranes or seeds)
- 2 tsp. whole fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. good garlic powder
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. dried italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. dried marjoram
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme, *crush between your fingers and thumb when adding to release flavor
- FOR SAUCE:
- 3 (14.5 oz.) cans Hunt’s tomato sauce
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can Hunt’s Stewed Tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz.) can Hunt’s Tomato Paste
- ¼ cup red wine, I just use a Cabernet Sauvignon
- ½ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- 1 Tbl. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme, *crush between fingers and thumb when adding to pot
- ½ tsp. marjoram
- ½ tsp. Herbes De Provence
- 1½ tsp. good garlic powder
- 2 Tbl. sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
- ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (8 oz.) cont. fresh sliced mushrooms
- Other ingredients needed:
- 1 (1 lb.) box thin or regular spaghetti noodles, cooked al dente with 2 tsp. salt, drained well, (*also very good over mostaccioli or rigatoni noodles)
- fresh shaved parmesan cheese
- In large frying pan add meats, breaking up with spoon, and sprinkle evenly with rest of meat mixture ingredients. Stir well to incorporate ingredients and sauté on medium heat until meats are done, breaking up as you go, until small chunks are no longer pink in the middle and onion and bell pepper are tender. Dump into colander and drain grease. (I do this in the sink with the colander to one side and the water running VERY hot off to the other side to rinse the fat down the drain.) There really shouldn’t be that much. After fat has drained, dump into large, heavy-bottomed stock pot. (*Rinse colander well with the hot water already running to use later to drain noodles.)
- Add all of sauce ingredients except mushrooms. Stir well to mix. Then gently stir in mushrooms. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and heat to simmering over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue simmering, watching and stirring pot as needed, scraping sides too, for 45 minutes. (Just have a few glasses of the red wine you opened for this and have fun!) Simmer until thickened to desired consistency. At least 45 minutes or up to an hour for very thick. We like a little “gravy” for sopping garlic bread in. Remove from heat and cover with lid tilted to let steam escape.
- *I use a mesh wire splash guard on top of my pot to prevent splatters. If you don’t have one, stir more often or use a lid set on top off-set to vent.
- During last 15 minutes, fill another stock pot with very hot water and heat on high until boiling. When water is boiling, add salt and noodles and cook until al-dente. “Just tender” but NOT over-cooked. *The only way to tell is to remove a noodle, blow on it to cool so you don’t burn your tongue and bite. If it still has uncooked white in the very center and is hard in the middle, then it isn’t quite done but probably only needs another minute. *I always use the shortest time allotted and that’s usually spot on. Rarely it needs just one more minute, but that’s all the time that I add when it does. Drain noodles in colander and place desired amount onto plates.
- Top with as much spaghetti sauce as desired and add any extra noodles to any remaining sauce in pot. Garnish with shavings of fresh parmesan cheese. Serve with toasted garlic bread and a simple salad.
- *This is also awesome cooked until thick and used in lasagna.
Something to save, print, and stick to the fridge!