Spaghetti Sauce with Meat
My first attempts at cookery were guided by The Impoverished Student's Book of Cookery, Drinkery, and Housekeepery by the late Jay Rosenberg. He didn't include a recipe for spaghetti sauce because, he wrote, everyone already has a recipe "and you probably think that yours is better than mine."
Well, maybe, but it's not better than this one. The secret ingredient is sweet Italian sausage.
Assemble the following:
- One 24 oz jar of Ragu Chunky Garden Style spaghetti sauce (or experiment with other varieties)
- One 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
- One 4 oz can of mushroom stems and pieces
- A pound of ground beef (Get the leanest kind you can find; grease is not really welcome in spaghetti sauce.)
- A half pound of bulk sweet Italian sausage (You can probably only buy it by the pound. Freeze the other half because you'll want to make this again.)
- Optional chopped onion and pressed garlic.
Brown the ground beef in a little vegetable oil, breaking it up as it cooks so that you have a bunch of pieces no bigger then peas. A silicone or wooden spatula is the right tool for the job of breaking it up. "Brown" means get actual browning reactions, not just gray steamed meat, but be careful not to burn it. Fling the browned meat into a big pot.
Separately, brown the sausage, breaking it up as well. Trying to brown beef and sausage together doesn't work because the sausage will burn before the beef browns. If you've chopped some onion or peeled a clove of garlic, fling them in when the sausage is cooking nicely. The garlic goes in with a garlic press. If you don't have a garlic press, you can try chopping it very finely. Fling the browned sausage into the pot.
Add the Ragu sauce, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Season with a lot of oregano and less cumin. If you like a bit of bite to your sauce, try 1/4 tsp of cayenne. Or not. Rinse the Ragu jar with about 1/3 cup vinegar and pour that into the pot.
Stir everything together and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
This makes enough to serve four or five people. If you have fewer people, put some of it in the Ragu jar while still very hot and put the lid on. When it has cooled a bit, put it in the fridge. It will keep for at least a couple of weeks.
Orignially posted: 2021-03-26