What does the term ‘comfort food’ mean to you? For some it is a hearty meal on a cold day that leaves one feeling satisfyingly stuffed and ready for a nap. And for others it’s a little deeper; a memory of peoples and places attached to a certain dish or cuisine. My grandma’s spaghetti sauce is all of the above. So many times I walked through the side door of their house into the little galley kitchen and the smell of the sauce gently simmering on the stove let me know all was right in the world. I’ve made her sauce into one of my own traditional family recipes now. I added fresh local Italian sweet fennel sausage and some herbs to bring in some of my wife’s family influence to the pot. A few adjustments, but still a simple, versatile, and satisfying part of my repertoire. It works perfectly on top of pasta, in a lasagna, or whatever Italian dish calls for tomato sauce. Even my ultra-picky daughter loves spaghetti night at our house.
Developing a core of simple and versatile dishes and sides make eating healthy and keeping within a budget easy. Pasta with a basic sauce, like this one, can be quickly made without a lot of ingredients and serve as either a main course or even frozen in batches for later use. I invite you to take this recipe, tweak it, make it your own. Share in the comments what you’d add or subtract from the recipe. Create some memories in your own kitchen. Enjoy!
Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 28oz cans spaghetti sauce. I usually use the Dei Fratelli brand, but all are pretty similar.
- 1 small can (5-6oz) tomato paste
- 1 lb. ground chuck
- 2-4 cloves minced garlic depending on your taste
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- Sprig of rosemary or other Italian herbs to suit your tastebuds
- *optional ~1 pound Italian sausage
- *optional 1/2 cup red wine for a bit of sweetness
- Brown ground beef, then set aside.
- If using, brown Italian sausage, then set aside.
- Drain grease from pot leaving just enough to cook onion. Soften onions over medium heat, then add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds, then add red wine if using. Be sure to scrape up any brown bit on the bottom of the pot.
- Add tomato sauce and return beef and sausage to pot. Bring to a simmer and add herbs.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover pot and let cook for an hour.