For the past few weeks, I've neglected to bring my husband any of his favorite treats when I visit him. No brownies, no cookies, no granola, no power bars, no quick bread — no sweets at all, in fact, for my favorite Marine (who just graduated from The Basic School ... yay!). And I hate to admit it, but if ever there were a time when he needed that extra brownie, it's now.
Thanks to my sister-in-law, Mandy, however, a weight-lifting, football-watching, Gamecocks-cheering fireball from South Carolina, who gave me her spaghetti sauce recipe, I have been able to bring Ben Tupperwares filled with pasta and meat sauce. Mandy makes this recipe in bulk for a number of reasons: For one, with a six-month old running around — almost running around — she has little time to make dinner every night. Second, she doesn't love to cook (although she's a culinary whiz), so having this sauce on hand minimizes the time she spends in the kitchen. And lastly, she has to feed not only herself and baby every night, but also her professional-powerlifter husband, John. (John holds a world record in his weight class for a dead lift and squat combination score.)
This recipe yields two quarts of sauce and freezes beatifully. For one pound of pasta — spaghetti, macaroni, shells or any other pasta variety — one quart of sauce works perfectly. With tons of fresh basil and a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, this spaghetti makes a wonderful dinner. Thanks Mandy!
Mandy's Spaghetti Sauce
Yield = 2 quarts
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the meat and brown, stirring occasionally. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic, and sauté until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, 1 cup water, and seasonings. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste, add more salt or sugar if necessary, and serve over pasta immediately, or let cool until ready to serve.
Note: This sauce will keep for several days in the refrigerator or indefinitely in the freezer. For a simple healthy meal, cook whole-wheat spaghetti, add lots of chopped fresh basil and a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.