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Mama's Spaghetti

Jennifer Chandler

Mama’s spaghetti. I wish I could say this recipe came from a true Italian, but this is the name my girls’ have affectionately given my meaty spaghetti sauce.

It’s really just a simple sauce made from ground beef and canned tomatoes. But it sure is yummy! Serve it over pasta or use it in your next lasagna. Either way, I highly suggest you add this recipe to your repertoire.

I have experimented with fresh tomatoes, canned whole tomatoes, and canned diced tomatoes, but I have found that canned crushed tomatoes offer the best “saucy” texture. If you like chunks of tomatoes in your spaghetti sauce, then add a small can of drained diced tomatoes to this basic recipe.

Draining the excess fat once the ground beef is cooked makes for a healthier and less greasy finished dish. Just put the ground beef in a colander to drain while you cook the onion, green bell pepper and garlic.

As a twist on the classic recipe, I often add a half a pound of ground Italian sausage for a little extra “Italian-ness.”

The seasoning for this sauce comes from dried Italian herbs like basil, oregano and thyme.  You can always use a dried Italian seasoning blend, but I often just have individual spices in my pantry.  One teaspoon of each makes the perfect blend of flavor.

And I highly suggest always making a double batch so you can put some away in your freezer. You’ll be thankful for it on a busy weekday night.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese and a slice of garlic bread for a delicious and filling supper.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

Mama’s Spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 box (1 pound/16-ounce) spaghetti, cooked per package directions and kept warm

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the meat and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander and drain off the excess fat.

Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, thyme, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the meat to the pot and stir to combine. Over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve hot over warm pasta.

Serves 6.

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.