I play around a bit with various meat sauces, browned ground beef then cooked with tomato sauce and herbs. I have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad recipe. Maybe that’s because I taste and adjust as I go if the recipe starts out wrong. In a generic recipe, I’ll often add a bit of red wine, or some more herbs, or a pinch more sugar or salt depending… But here’s one of my favorites.
Meat Sauce for Pasta
- 1 pound ground beef or a mixture of ground beef, pork, and veal
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp dried basil or 2 tsp fresh, chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp fresh, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried savory
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 28 ounce can pureed tomatoes if you like chunky sauce, use chopped or diced or tomatoes in puree
- 1 8 ounce can tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1/8 cup dried
- Brown the meat with the onion and garlic over medium, stirring and breaking up the clumps. Cook until the meat is no longer pink at all. Drain off the excess fat.
- Stir in the herbs (basil, oregano, savory, parsley, salt and pepper) and cook for another minute or so. Add the pureed tomatoes and stir, then cook 10 minutes or so, until it reaches the consistency you like.
- You can cook longer and it will get better but it's good earlier if you need it. Just keep it simmering while you cook your pasta.
Note to beginning cooks: I always keep a rinsed out can under the sink to drain fat into. Do not pour excess grease or fat down your sink as it will harden and clog your drains. Bacon grease you can keep in the fridge and cook with. I throw away everything else or sweeten the dog’s dinner with a bit. If you really want to get rid of as much fat as possible, you can put your browned ground beef into a colander and then rinse it with hot water after draining off as much fat as possible.
Ah, here’s another tip I figured out after cooking for a while. I think the hardest part of learning to cook a whole meal is the timing of everything. If you finish this meat sauce and mistimed the pasta or your vegetable, just keep this on very low heat and watch it. If it gets looking a little dry, add some red or white wine, some water, or some broth. It’s pretty flexible.