We had some family friends over for dinner tonight. It’s not often we all get together, although the girls see each other sometimes and I have lunch with my friend periodically. It was such a nice evening, all together at one table. I wanted to make a dinner that didn’t have too much going on at the last minute so the adults could sit and sip some wine together beforehand and the girls could chat as well.
I settled on spaghetti with meat sauce but then remembered I had some Johnsonville mild Italian sausage in the freezer so decided to add that as well. (They’re running a recipe contest over here now if you like Italian sausage!) I modified a few different recipes, all of which called for tomato paste. But I had none and wasn’t about to brave the grocery store holiday madness so just added a little less water and took the lid off at some point to let the sauce cook down and thicken up. This came out fantastic. I do think the tomato paste would have added a bit more thickness but don’t be afraid to just leave something out if need be now and then.
Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with Sausage
- 2 Tbs oil
- 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced about 1 tsp
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large 28 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 can 15 oz of diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 pound cooked Italian sausage
- 3 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 pound spaghetti
- grated Parmesan cheese to serve at the table
- Heat the oil a minute or two and then cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the ground beef and cook until cooked through. You could also add the sausage here and cook through but I did them in a separate pan as I thought of them after the ground beef had cooked. (If you had 6 oz of tomato paste I would normally add that here!)
- Stir in the tomato sauce, undrained tomatoes, water and herbs and seasonings. Add the cooked sausage at some point if you haven’t already done so. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and then cover partially. Cook 1 to 2 hours, stirring periodically. About a half hour before serving, remove the cover entirely to let the sauce thicken.
- If the sauce gets too thick, add more water. I didn’t have the problem since I had no tomato paste.
- Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water according to package directions.
- Serve either all tossed together family style or pass the pasta and the meat sauce separately and let each choose what they like.
This was really good but not QUITE as good as the sauce I made in the crockpot last weekend. I think the crockpot sauce is good just because it cooks so long. You could replicate this by doing the browning of onions and garlic and beef and sausage in the skillet then add everything else to the crockpot and cook 4-6 hours.