Spaghetti Sauce

Watching 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.

Meat Sauce

    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
    Salt
    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