my grandmother stirring spaghetti sauce and putting in all her secret
ingredients, was a magical experience. Somewhere in the process, immeasurable
love was added and that made all the difference. My grandmother added a little
bit of brown sugar to her sauce if the tomatoes are not sweet enough.
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
╝ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in a mortar with a pestle
╝ teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar, or more to taste
4 drops pepper sauce
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can Italian tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
1 cup water
1 dried bay leaf
1 (12-ounce) package spaghetti, preferably from Zingermans«
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
1. In a
5-quart sautÚ pan, brown the beef in olive oil over
medium heat until crumbly. Add the onions and mushrooms.
Cook 10 minutes, then stir in oregano, basil, salt, parsley,
rosemary, pepper, brown sugar, hot-pepper sauce, nutmeg,
tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, water and bay leaf.
2. Simmer over low heat, covered with a splatter guard. When
the sauce is done cooking, add a bit more brown sugar to
taste. This may be necessary if the tomatoes are very acidic.
3. Heat water in a 12-quart stockpot and add a pinch of salt.
Boil pasta until fully cooked and no longer crunchy.
4. To serve, ladle sauce over drained noodles. Top with
parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper.
Hint 1: Make garlic bread by mixing 2 small minced garlic
cloves into 1 cube butter and spreading it on sliced French
bread. Wrap bread in foil and heat in 350░ oven 15 minutes.
Hint 2: Often, I will make this dish and stir the sauce and
pasta in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish, then let it sit
in the refrigerator overnight. Topped with cheddar cheese,
and reheated, this dish becomes a potluck favorite.
Hint 3: For a memorable dinner, start with antipasto salad,
serve spaghetti with a side of garlic bread, then complete the
meal with caramel custards.
Makes 4 to 6 servings