A staple in our home growing up was spaghetti and marinara sauce. I would say we had it at least once a week- and it never. got. old. I’m not joking either! I absolutely love anything tomato-based. Ask anyone I ever went to school with- I’ve been known to eat a tomato like an apple. Again, no joke.
But before I gross you guys out too much- let’s get back to the normal way of eating tomato-y things, shall we?
This spaghetti sauce is meaty, bursting with flavor, and chock full of vegetables. Also wine. There is wine in this recipe… winnnnerrr! Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I used the last smidgen of our good bottle of wine for this pot of sauce… Which was disappointing to my husband, but I’m sure contributed to the deliciousness of this sauce. I redeemed myself by bringing home another good selection of cabernet sauvignon for my man and he was happy!
The great thing about this sauce too is that 1.) it makes a TON and 2.) it freezes like a dream. So, for those nights where you want to serve something for dinner that tastes like it took hours to make but just don’t have that kind of time, you can just pull this out of the freezer and silently love yourself for planning ahead a few weeks ago and making a large batch. If you really want to get crazy, you could freeze individual portions of this sauce in muffin cups or baggies so that it’s easy to grab one to pack in your lunch bag for work. Not that I’m crazy or anything. In all seriousness, when I think of what to make for dinner, I usually opt for the recipe that will be the fastest to make, pleasing to both Joey and me, and healthy as possible. So, when I saw that this recipe suggested simmering the sauce for 2 hours, I almost laughed and kept browsing recipes. Almost. I decided to make it because as we know, most good things take time, and this was one of those things I was willing to wait for the end product! It was pretty calming actually… to check the pot every now and then and dream of the yumminess that awaited us in a couple hours. Don’t worry- this isn’t one of those things you have to stir constantly or add things every 2 1/2 minutes- you basically prepare it all, dump it all in a pot, put the lid on, and come back in two hours. Yay for easy peasy shmeezy recipes!
One more thing I love about this recipe, is that the meaty sauce is so substantial that if you want to ‘healthify’ the recipe, you can use spaghetti squash instead of noodles! I don’t know that I’d try to convince Joey to make that substitute, but for me it was the perfect balance of comforting, filling meat sauce and lighter, healthier ‘noodles’. I’m not going to go so far as to say, “You can’t even tell the difference!!” because of course you can. But to me, the squash is just as tasty as regular noodles. You can use either/or!
Hope you guys like it- I found the basic recipe over at Eat, Live, Run– but made a couple changes based on my preferences and what I had laying around in my cupboards. Thats the beautiful thing about this- you can add a little of this or a pinch of that, more of those or less of that- based totally on your tastebuds and pantry.
makes… a lot.
recipe adapted from Eat, Live, Run
1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1 lb. low fat mild sausage (or hot, if you prefer!)
20 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 green bell pepper , diced (I used a blend of red,green, and yellow frozen bell peppers, because I didn’t have fresh on hand)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
1 (12 oz) can tomato paste
1 (24 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (or 2) big splashes of red wine (my ‘splashes’ somehow equaled a whole CUP)
6 oz grated fresh parmesan
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
garlic salt & pepper as needed
spaghetti squash- 1/2 squash per person
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, bell peppers and sliced mushrooms. Saute for about six – eight minutes, until mushrooms are soft. Add ground beef and sausage meat. Cook until meat browns, stirring frequently with a large rubber spatula.
Add tomato puree, tomato sauce and tomato paste to the pot. Stir well. Then, add the bay leaf, wine, spices, and cheese. Stir well and bring sauce to a simmer.
Simmer sauce for an hour and a half over low heat, stirring occasionally. Taste it as you cook, adding more wine, spices or garlic salt to suite your taste buds. The longer the sauce cooks, the better it will taste!
Serve sauce over hot spaghetti noodles or hot squash noodles! Sauce can be refrigerated for up to five days or frozen for up to three months. Sauce will taste better the next day, after flavors have time to meld.
How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash
1.) wash the squash
2.) cut in half to decrease cooking time
3.) scoop out and discard all the seeds and guts
4.) set directly on oven rack and bake at 425 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. They are ready when the flesh comes away easily when you scrape a fork across it.
OR** MIcrowave for anywhere from 7-10 minutes. I sometimes do this, though not optimal, if I don’t have 30-45 minutes, or if I take it to work for lunch and no oven is available.
6.) once the squash are cooked, use your ‘oven-mitted’ hand to steady the squash while you use a fork to scrape out the flesh- it will come away from the skin of the squash looking just like noodles!!
Now, scoop a hefty amount of that delicious sauce on top of the bed of squash noodles and enjoy every bite.