As we near the home stretch of the pregnancy, my wife has been craving spaghetti with meat sauce more and more. So I thought it was time I started to make my own sauce.
1. steep it: heat some oil in a large skillet. Once it starts to warm, add some sliced garlic. Normally, I would crush/dice/mince the garlic, but Italian food always seems to want you to slice it. Cook the garlic in the oil until it starts to brown.
2. sauté it: add some diced onions to the oil and garlic. Cook this until the onion starts to become transparent.
3. sauté it (optional): I had some extra mushrooms lying around. So I sliced them up and added them to the sauce. I think I also diced half a green pepper and added it. Lately, eggplant seems to be on mega sale, so I think I might add eggplant instead the next time I make this sauce.
4. brown it: brown a pound of ground beef in a separate skillet. I use 95% lean stuff because that is what my pregnant wife demands.
5. simmer it: add 1 big can of tomatoes. They can be crushed, or diced, or whole. I don’t find that it makes that much of a difference for a quick sauce (and by “quick,” I mean a sauce that can be cooked in an hour or less). And lately, I’ve been using the Muir Glen Organics brand. It’s the only organic brand they have at the grocery store closest to my apartment.
Keep the tomato sauce on heat until it starts to bubble. Then lower the heat so that it can simmer.
6. marry it: once the meat is browned, I add that to the sauce skillet so that the flavors can get to know each other.
7. season it: I add a pinch of salt and a lot of pepper. The can of tomatoes I bought already had some basil in it, so I think I only added a little bit of oregano. And then I added a couple dashes of red wine vinegar. I don’t know why, but I really like that.
The sauce is pretty much done at this point. If you let it sit on the stove and continue to simmer, the flavors concentrate and thickens, which is nice. We’ve been eating this a lot with homemade fettucini. Usually, I’ll start the sauce and then start the pasta. And from start to finish it takes about an hour.
You know, I really never thought that herbs really made all that much of a difference, but when you start out with just tomatoes, you can really tell. Before the herbs, the sauce is acidic and raw-tasting. Afterwards, the sauce doesn’t taste herby, but it does feel fuller and rounds out on the bottom, like adding a reasonably-sized subwoofer to a set of bookshelf speakers.