Dom DeLuise’s Meat Sauce for Baked Pasta

I picked up Eat This .. It’ll Make You Feel Better a few years ago at a used book store. It’s fun just for the reading, but the recipes are actually quite good as well! I started with the meat sauce and then turned it into a baked penne, sauce, and cheese dish which was quite a hit. Of course, you could just serve the meat sauce atop pasta with some grated Parmesan.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated or chopped very fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 28-oz cans of pureed or ready cut tomatoes (I like pureed for a smoother sauce)
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 tsp black pepper or more
1 tsp sugar
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp dried ground thyme
10 fresh mushrooms, diced (I left this out because I didn’t have any)

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound cooked pasta

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil and cook the onion, carrot, and garlic until lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, pepper, and sugar. Simmer, partially covered ( I love the mesh screen covers for this) about 30 minutes, stirring now and then.

In the meantime, brown the ground beef and drain off any excess fat. Add the meat and the thyme to the tomato mixture. Cover and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the mushrooms, stir in, then cook another ten minutes.

This is enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta. If you want to turn it into a baked dish, cook up a pound of penne or zitti pasta and drain, then stir into the finished meat sauce. Layer half in a 9×13 pan or 4 quart casserole, sprinkle some Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top, spread the over half on that, then finish with some Mozarella and Parmesan. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 healthy servings.

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