Friday, February 11, 2011

My new & improved Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Since I am still home with a mending wing.... I decided to experiment.. This being Valentines weekend...Something not too hard, that my wife would love..Had to be tasty.. She Loves Italian Food.. Spaghetti, especially.The idea came to me.. why not try to build a GREAT spaghetti sauce to go with some capellini? I dislike almost every single from the store Spaghetti sauce I have ever tried... too sweet.. Too much garlic.. Not enough of this... too much of that.. I thought.. I can't do any worse.. (well maybe) and I've got all day see what I can do. (Beats Netflix!) 

I stole from several recipes.. and came up with this:


  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage, sliced- I cut it up into chunks. To me, it should be part of the flavor, not a showcase.
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef. I like organic from Smiths..
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed. I like garlic, I crushed 3 smallish ones.( I should have used more)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into bits.
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Dubonnet wine (also good for Marsala sauce)
    (Factoid: Dubonnet was originally invented to get French Foreign
    Legion soldiers to take their quinine.)
    (use water if you don't cook with wine)
  • DO NOT add ANY Sugar. Dubonnet is a fortified wine.. And will make this sweet enough.
    If you use water, you may want to add a little bit. (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed (makes for an authentic Italian flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt to gusto. (I used just a pinch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.
  • Optionally, add about 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms. 
In your Volcano, use a 12" DEEP Dutch oven over medium heat, (I used 12 briquettes) cook the sausage, beef, onion, and garlic until well browned; drain fat. Stir in the tomatoes you cut into bits, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with basil, fennel seed, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, (take out 4 briquettes) cover, and simmer (close the vent ring ALL THE WAY after you take out the briquettes) 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  

Here are some tips on cooking pasta... The rest.. is up to you.


Pasta should be cooked in rapidly boiling water. Add long pasta, like spaghetti, in a bunch, gradually pushing it down as it softens; add other types of pasta to the rapidly boiling water in a stream.

A brisk boil seals the pasta and is the best way to cook pasta al dente, meaning slightly firm to the bite. Use 1 tablespoon of salt in the water for each ½ kilogram of fresh or dried pasta. As it begins to soften, stir the pasta gently. For pasta to cook evenly without sticking together, it is important to use plenty of water and a pot that is large enough to allow for swelling (good-quality pasta will expand to 4 times its initial size). Use 12 cups of water per ½ kilogram of pasta, adding 4 cups of water for each additional ¼ kilogram of fresh or dried pasta. Too much water is better than too little when cooking pasta.

The required cooking time for pasta is partly a matter of taste and partly a matter of the size and quantity of pasta and of the hardness of the water. The best way to know when the pasta is al dente test it regularly during cooking. The initial moisture content of the pasta will also influence its cooking time:

  • Pasta made from hard wheat flour must be cooked longer than pasta made from soft wheat flour.
  • Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta.
  • Pasta that is to be cooked a second time or frozen should be cooked for a shorter time.
  • Drain pasta as soon as it is cooked or it will continue to cook and become too soft.
  • Rinse cooked pasta in cold water only if it is very starchy (in the case of soft wheat pasta, for example) to prevent it from sticking if it is to be used cold (as in a salad), or to halt the cooking process immediately (for example, in the case of pasta to be cooked a second time with other ingredients).
  • Some types of dried pasta intended for use in baked dishes (lasagne, manicotti and cannelloni) do not have to be precooked. However, these dishes usually require a greater quantity of liquid or sauce, as the pasta absorbs much of it as it cooks.
Enjoy - and Happy Valentines day. 

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