Thursday, September 3, 2009

Recipe thuRsday: Spaghetti Sauce

We ain't Italian, but that doesn't mean we can't get in on the game too! This sauce is a staple in our household and we learned how to make it from our good friends Kellie & Anthony. And like all of the other things I cook, I've put my own twist on it. K&A like theirs more traditional and savory, we like ours spicy and slightly sweet. The nice thing about this is that is a one dish affair and it can be ready within 30 to 45 minutes. Of course, the longer you let it simmer over low heat the better it gets!

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
about 3 TBSP olive oil
1 pound of ground turkey or beef
1/2 of a yellow onion
1 large can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can of Rotel tomatoes and chilies - you can use regular diced tomatoes if you prefer more traditional (14.5 oz)
1 can of tomato paste (small can)
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
touch of brown sugar
Italian spices

1. Saute the onions in the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet for about 3 minutes until the onions are translucent.
2. Throw in the ground meat with some salt and pepper. Cook it until it's just barely brown.
3. Add the tomato paste in with the meat, and thoroughly mix it in. Then add the crushed tomatoes and Rotel and mix well.
4. Now we season! I use a tablespoon of a blend of spices called Anna's Herbs (found at Central Market) and mix everything together. If you don't have Anna's Herbs, you can mix in some crushed red pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary, and garlic powder instead. Let the sauce cook on medium low heat for 10 minutes.
5. Once the ten minutes are up, add in the garlic and brown sugar. I do this because it allows the garlic flavor to open up more and because garlic can burn very quickly when sauteing, which in the words of the great Alton Brown "is not good eats!"
6. Let the dish simmer on low heat for at least 15 to 20 minutes before serving. During this time you can boil your spaghetti noodles and get the rest of dinner ready. The longer you cook it, the thicker the sauce will get and the flavors deepen with time.

TIP: To keep from crying when slicing onions, place them in the freezer or in ice cold water for about 15 minutes. When an onion is cut, it releases an enzyme that when it mixes with the liquid in your eyes, it essentially creates sulfuric acid. This causes your eyes to burn and the subsequent cry-fest. Freezing prevents the enzymes from flowing as freely, thereby greatly reducing the tears. You could also wear goggles to prevent the tears, but that would just look silly.

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Good to the last bite! And to quote a local BBQ joint: "It's so good, you just gotta get it all over ya!"

Next week I'll give you another recipe that involves using this sauce...two fer one, yippee!

Bon appetit!

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