My parents got divorced when I was 12, and so began the tradition of "Spaghetti Night", which was every Monday when my father did not get home until 6:00 p.m. I was put in charge of making dinner - always spaghetti. I started off with frying up meat and onions, and adding a bottle of commercial spaghetti sauce. Over the years, it's evolved, quite a lot, to include a more generous quantity of vegetables, and to allow for the fact that I started to can my own tomatoes. It still appears on the table almost once a week though... This is not a thick, rich sauce. It's more chunky and a little soupy from the home-canned tomatoes. I tend to serve it with a stubby style of pasta, so I can eat it with a spoon.
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 pepper (I use cubanelle or banana peppers) (optional)
- 2 cups quartered button mushrooms (optional)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 4 cups crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
- Set a large pot of salted water on to boil, and prepare the desired amount of pasta.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and garlic.
- Peel and grate the carrot; grate the zucchini.
- Prepare the mushrooms and pepper if using.
- Put the meat in a very large skillet, with the oil if the meat is very lean, and fry, breaking it up into small bits, until browned.
- When it is half done, add the onion, and continue cooking until there is not any red left in the meat and the onion is translucent.
- Stir the garlic into the meat for a minute, then add the grated carrot and zucchini, and the pepper and mushrooms if using. Mix well.
- Continue cooking, stirring frequently for a few minutes until the vegetables are soft. Season with the salt, basil and oregano.
- Mix in the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until well amalgamated.
- Mix in the Tabasco sauce, and serve over hot pasta.
Didn't have any zucchini, so used celery; subbed bell pepper for the cubanelle (had it on hand). The grated carrot adds just the right touch of sweetness. LOVE being able to bump up the vegetable content in our diet.