Crowd-friendly. Last-minute-friendly. Year-round-friendly. Easy. Tasty.
Probably one of the most popular and widely-made suppers, Spaghetti is a basic and easy-to-make, yet, classic and delicious dish. It’s one of those dishes that tends to come out a little (or a lot, sometimes) different every time, but, never fear. There’s nothing wrong with tasty inconsistencies.
I really can’t be very specific on the amounts of ingredients, so play around with it. You’ll figure it out.
Ground Beef/Venison/Ground Sausage
Garlic (any shape or form – fresh, minced, powdered)
Bell Pepper, diced – optional –
Mushrooms (as many as you like), canned or fresh – optional –
Black Olives (as many as you like) – optional –
Olive Oil, as needed
Tomato Sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)
Tomato Paste (no more than one can)
Diced Tomatoes (one or two cans)
Cook the ground meat, onion, bell pepper, and garlic, adding enough garlic powder to make it smell good. If the meat is very lean, you can add a little olive oil. Once it’s browned, drain it (if necessary).
Add the first can of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. If the mixture is still dry, or not as saucy as you like, add another can of tomato sauce (may be along with a little tomato paste to even out the taste. NOTE: There’s a reason tomato paste comes in tiny cans. Don’t overdo it. Just add a little, to begin with, and add more later, if necessary.).
Once you have the mixture at the consistency you like, add oregano and basil to taste/smell. These are the herbs that, to me, make it spaghetti, and not just hamburger in tomatoes.
The acidic tomatoes may have all the salty flavor you’re looking for. If not, feel free now to salt it to taste.
If there’s still a “depth” of flavor that seems to be missing, try adding some beef base or bouillon, and more herbs (more oregano, some basil, etc.).
If there’s a sharp, almost sour taste that is unpleasant to your palate, there’s probably too much acid. Try adding just a pinch or sugar, or a little more tomato paste to cut it down.
Once everything seems to be about right, place your bay leaf on top, and cover the skillet/pot. Turn the heat down to where it just barely simmers, and walk away.
Now all that’s left, of course, is the pasta. This one’s really easy. Choose your favorite pasta (we generally do vermicelli), and cook according to the directions. If there are no directions, you can generally follow these steps:
1.) In a large pot, bring quite a bit of water to a boil. Add salt.
2.) Add dried pasta.
3.) Boil until tender.
4.) Drain, rinse, and serve.
You can make this ahead of time, and simply run hot water over it when it’s time to eat.