Son texted from college last week asking “how do I make spaghetti?” Knowing that his dorm room this year has a small kitchen I was quite optimistic that he was beginning to show an interest in cooking. In the past his cooking skills have been pretty much zero and he’s never been the least bit interested in anything but the eating. Of course I was deflated when he clarified that he had a jar of “gasp” Ragu (which afterwards, without prompting, he said was pretty lame – thank goodness his taste buds are still working). Being the one who never, ever, ever uses jar sauce, I promised to make him some (he happened to be coming home for the weekend) and using the handy sucker machine, aka Food Saver, I made a big pot of meat sauce and froze it in pouches suitable for 1 lb of pasta each. Of course I also had to make and freeze his favorite mac-n-cheese and White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies for Roommate. I baked a dozen and sent them with some frozen dough for later.
This sauce is great and doesn’t really take that much effort, although I do simmer it for a long time. It works with any kind of pasta and makes a great lasagna. Also you can make it a day or two ahead and it gets even better and it freezes really well.
3 lb ground beef
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions chopped
1-3 heads of garlic minced (depending on your preference, I use 3 as I belong to the never too much garlic group)
2-3 tbsp basil ( again I like a lot so I use 3)
2-3 tbsp oregano (same here)
2 cups beef broth
1 6 lb 6 oz can of crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
First brown the ground beef in a large dutch oven or pot over medium high heat
Then drain the ground beef well
While the meat is draining, using the fat left in the pan and adding the olive oil, add the chopped onions and cook over medium high heat until beginning to brown. Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute. The browning on the pan gives it extra flavor.
Add the beef broth, scraping up any browned portions. Continue cooking until the broth is reduced to almost gone, then add the spices and cook for about 1 more minute.
Finally, add the crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for as long as you can stand it but at least an hour. I usually let it go for about 3 hours.