add 1 pound ground round and 1/2 pound Italian pork sausage to skillet on medium high heat and brown it, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. The sausage is harder to break into smaller pieces, but you can do it, just keep trying! Drain off fat if there is any. Season the meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder. You'll add this to the sauce in a moment. In a stock pot or soup pot,
add about 2 Tbs. of olive oil and heat on medium. When hot, add 1 diced onion and 1/2 green bell pepper, if desired. I don't always add the bell pepper. Cook until soft, 5 minutes or so, and then add 1-2 minced garlic cloves and some more olive oil, maybe 1 or 2 more Tbs. Stir for just a bit, don't let the garlic get too brown, just soft. Now add in 2 cans crushed tomatoes, 2 cans tomato paste and 4 cups of water. Stir well and then add the meat to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover pot with a lid and cook on low for at least 1 1/2 -2 hours. Cooking it a little longer will not hurt. Stir every so often, and break up any large pieces of meat you may find.
Don't add the spices until the sauce is almost done. Spices lose flavor if cooked too long. When sauce is almost done check to see if you like the consistency. If it's thicker than you like, add a little more water. If the sauce is too thin cook it down a little with the lid off. When ready I add 1 tsp. oregano, 1&1/2 tsp. basil, 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper to taste and 1 Tbs. sugar. This time I also added 3 sprigs of thyme, which I have in the freezer. Can't wait to plant more herbs this spring! Now you're ready to make my Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce , pictured below, that I posted yesterday! You'll need 3-4 cups of sauce for this dish. Or use this sauce for any other pasta. This recipe makes about 8 cups of sauce, so I froze what was left.
I have based this recipe on one my Mother used. If you need a meatless sauce, just omit the meat part and start with browning the onions. This is what I do when making spaghetti and meatballs.
Meat Sauce for Pasta
1 pound lean ground beef, I use gr. round
1/2 pound Italian pork sausage
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced, optional
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
2- 15oz. cans of crushed tomatoes, or diced is fine
2- 6oz. cans of tomato paste
about 4 cups water
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 &1/2 tsp. dried basil,
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. sugar, optional
1 Tbs. sugar, optional
1/2 tsp. thyme, optional
In a skillet brown the ground beef and sausage together, breaking up chunks with spoon.
Drain fat, if any. In a large pot, in 2 Tbs. olive oil, cook the diced onion and bell pepper until soft. Add in the minced garlic and another Tbs. or so of olive oil. Stir until garlic is softened and then add the 2 cans of tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato paste, all of the meat and 4 cups of water. Bring to a simmer,then turn to low heat and cover with lid. Cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, at least. This makes the meat tender and develops the sauce. Stir every so often and if necessary, add more water. When sauce is done add the oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar and thyme, if using. Stir well and simmer maybe 15 minutes more. If sauce is too thick, add more water. If it's too thin, cook it down some without the lid. This is not an exact science here, I go by taste and by what the sauce looks like. If you think it needs more basil or salt, for instance, add it in. And if I have fresh herbs from my garden, I use them in place of the dried. So, go make pasta for dinner one night this week. Your kitchen will be filled with the most wonderful aroma, and your family will love you! If they like pasta, that is! Pasta is something my whole family enjoys. Even when the kids were young, picky eaters, they would eat pasta with meat sauce. Do you eat pasta very often?