Monday, August 16, 2010

Grandma Helen's Spaghetti

So, this is turning into a series of posts about my favorite foods.  These are tried and true recipes, the ones we return to regularly.  Still to come: the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, pantry stew, shredded pork, and baked spinach penne. 

But for now: Grandma Helen's spaghetti.  She was a wise and wonderful woman and I miss her regularly.

This is a half hour dish, from start to finish, tastes amazing the first night and even better the next day for lunch.

Read, set, go.

Put on the water to boil.  Add a bit of salt to it and make sure there is plenty of water so the noodles don't get sticky.

Dice an onion and saute it in olive oil with two cloves of garlic on medium high heat.

Add a pound of ground beef to that and brown up real good like.

The water should be boiling about now, so throw in a handful of noodles.

AFTER the meat has browned, add about a tsp of salt and pepper to taste (if you add the salt too soon, it pulls all of the water out of the beef and makes it chewy and dry).  Next, add a handful of Italian seasoning. 

Um, actually a little less than this.  I didn't add the whole handful.

Now, Jon and I love bell peppers in our sauce, but don't eat them fast enough so they go bad in our fridge.  For many years, we just did without them except for on the specialist of occasions (Shakespeare made up words, why can't I?).  But then we discovered these babies:

Life changing.  Dehydrated peppers.  They come in a number 10 can at Wal Mart in small Utah towns.  They look beautiful on a glass canister on your counter.  They go in soup, spaghetti, taco meat, you name it.

To this, add a can of tomato paste, a can of tomato sauce, and a can of diced tomatoes.  My hope is to use my own tomatoes for all of this in not too long.  But they are taking a really long time to get ripe.  Stupid buggers.  And a tomato paste trick?  Open both ends and push it out like a red pudding pop.

Last but not least: sugar. About four tablespoons.  Three if you want "diet" sauce.

Sometimes I get crazy and add olives, mushrooms, green peppers, or some chili pepper.

Here is the tricky part: Let It SIMMER!  All that stuff needs to get intimate, mingle, sing karaoke together.  Bond.

Check those noodles. They should be just about al dente by now.  Throw them in with the sauce and stir.  Serve with a romantic salad, garlic bread, and whatever else your heart desires.

Like chocolate chip cookies!

1 comment:

  1. Ok, that seriously looks YUMMY!! And I've actually been looking for a good spaghetti recipe since I'm getting kinda sick of pasta sauce from a jar and can never seem to get the right ratio of sauce to pasta. We've got ground beef in the fridge right now that needs to be used up, so this may be dinner tonight! :)