Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby's good to me

I think it's pretty evident that my go-to quick meal is pasta. It's so simple that even Thatboy can help prepare it. Well, he can boil the water for me. Preparing the pasta is still a little beyond his skill set. And while I'm quite happy with a steaming bowl of pasta, some version of sauce, and fresh cheese (goat, parmesean, mozzarella), Thatboy usually questions where our protein is. Mostly because growing up, pasta was always spaghetti. And spaghetti was always accompanied with meat sauce. (And we're all familiar with my thoughts on that sauce)

My meat sauce takes its inspiration from my mother's best friend. They've been best friends since they were teenagers, having met at summer camp. And though we keep moving farther and farther away, their friendship continues. There was a period of time when my mother and I would take trips back to "the old country" to visit my mom's family. Sometimes we stayed with her friend. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and watching as the two of them polished off a bottle of wine, laughing, and stirring a pot of bubbling sauce on the stovetop. You see, in Brooklyn, you were either Jewish or Italian (or both). Mom's friend was as Italian as you could get. She passed on her sauce secrets to my mom, who in turn passed them on to me. The secret to perfect sauce is the addition of ground sausage. Unfortunately, while I have ground pork, veal, turkey, and beef in my freezer, there is no ground sausage. So this meat sauce isn't my best ever, but it's good enough to keep in the freezer beside the homemade marinara. And there's meat in it, so it makes Thatboy oh so happy.

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Meat Sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 can whole plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

  1. Brown garlic and onion in oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add beef and cook until browned.
  3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover.
  4. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occassionally.


  1. Your Mom's friendship sounds so very neat. Pasta dishes can not be beat!

  2. meat sauce makes me happy too. i've made mine so often that i don't even need a recipe anymore.

    that's not common for me.

  3. I love meat sauce! And you should be proud of me...I went to Ralphs :)

  4. Oh yum. I'll have to give this a try (someday).

  5. It looks great! I think I'll give it a try. Marc is from Brooklyn and is Italian and Jewish. Or, as I lovingly call him...iJew. :o)

  6. The old go-to's in the freezer are a life saver. I can't tell you how many times I've said "well, what for dinner tonight" and then pulled out the meat sauce. It just makes life so much easier

  7. Hi there- I've been following your blog for about a year and making tons of your yummy recipes for my family. I would absolutely love to read your travel blog (if it's anything like this one it's got to be awesome)!! Can you possibly send me an invitation? My email is Thanks :)

  8. A dish very similar to this is a favorite at my house - pasta is definitely a must on our menu!

  9. ohhh your secret sauce is something I must try making soon!

  10. Oh man. Slow cook for an hour. You know that sauce is good. :)

  11. I love pasta, specially meat sauce.Sounds delicious

  12. Yum, that looks plenty meaty! A good stick to your bones kind of meal!

  13. homemade marinara sauce from an italian is!

    i remember one sunday, we went over to our friend's house (they were very italian) for dinner, where she proceeded to make a veal meat sauce from scratch. took all day and was so well worth it. ::drool::