I realized recently that I’m missing a major recipe category on Maria Makes! Those would be the basics, the things I make over and over again that I really don't have a recipe for and probably turn out slightly different every time I make them. The dishes I make without thinking, and maybe in a hurry, and maybe with no desire to measure and write things down! BUT, they are the things we come back to time and time again, because they are easy, and they are tasty! So what kind of person would I be if I continued to hold out on you!?
If you’re looking for other tried and true Maria Makes staples, be sure to check out my Applesauce Vinaigrette (which I don't even measure anymore, and lately I've been doing a hybrid of that with my Grandma Miller's Sweet and Sour Dressing), Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal, and my Buffalo Chicken Salad. And I recently added Zucchini Lasagna, which I’ve been making for probably 10 years and each time it’s a little different.
You’ll notice I didn’t call this a bolognese, and I didn’t call it a ragu. That’s because it’s just a no frills, weeknight friendly, good ol’ meat sauce like the kind I grew up eating. Ground beef, garlic, onions, canned tomatoes. It doesn’t get much simpler! So when it comes to spaghetti sauce, specifically the meat variety, there are a couple of hard and fast rules in our house:
It's gotta be thick. This is especially important if you're using the sauce for something like zoodles or zucchini lasagna, as zucchini gives off lots of water when it cooks. Even for regular spaghetti, I like a thick sauce! (The exception to the rule is for a baked pasta dish where you want a little extra water since the noodles will absorb it as they bake!).
It's gotta be meaty. We're not looking for a couple of specks of ground beef floating in a pot of tomato sauce here. We're basically looking for a pot of ground beef and there's tomato sauce filling the spaces in between. Okay maybe not that extreme, but just go for 2 pounds, not 1.
Thick & Hearty Meat Sauce
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion
6 cloves of garlic
2 lbs ground beef
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 28oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
red pepper flakes
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high.
Add diced onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
Add in ground beef, breaking it up as it browns. Once beef is cooked through, add the tomato paste, oregano, Italian seasoning, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Continue to cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or so.
Add in tomato sauce, petite diced tomatoes (undrained), and 1 can of water (using the paste can as a measuring cup). Stir to combine.
TIP: If you want a thicker sauce, skip the water. If you want a thinner sauce, add another can of water.
Reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
Stir in some fresh basil if that’s your thing, and serve it up with your favorite pasta, gnocchi, zoodles, or roasted veggies!
[Whole30 - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Dairy Free]