I was never able to find the spaghetti sauce that I wanted, so I decided to figure out making it for myself. You see, I wanted a combination of a meat sauce and a vegetable sauce, and could not find a restaurant or a recipe that fit the bill. Note that this is ‘homemade’ only in part, as it includes marinara from a jar. I have made it completely from scratch, and it’s good, but it’s wayyyy too much work and it takes wayyyy too much time, and it’s only slightly better/different, so the marinara from a jar is simply a nod to the realities of a hectic lifestyle.
This recipe makes enough for four people, plus a healthy helping of leftovers – as with all spaghetti sauces, it’s better reheated the next day. Ingredients as follows:
3 jars Newman’s Own Marinara sauce
2 lbs. lean hamburger
1 sweet onion
8 cloves garlic
1 bunch asparagus
2 green squash
2 yellow squash
2 cups mushrooms
8 tbsp olive oil
Heat a large skillet on medium, add 2 tbsp olive oil, and saute half the garlic and onions (both diced) for 4-5 minutes, then add the ground beef, and salt and pepper to your tastes. Let the meat continue to brown while chopping the rest of the vegetables.
Finely dice the rest of the garlic and the other half of the onion, and keep them separate from the rest of the vegetables as they will be cooked separately. Cut the asparagus into .5″ to .75″ lengths, making sure not to include the woody base of the stalks, which can be tough. Slice each squash in half lenghtwise, and then slice each half in half again lenghtwise, so it is in long quarters, then thinly slice making little pie-shaped chunks. Slice the mushrooms thinly.
Heat a large pot on medium, add the remaining 6 tbsp of olive oil, then add the onion and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables. Continue cooking the vegetables for another 10 minutes, until they begin to get soft. At this point the meat should be close to done browning – when it’s browned, drain any fat, then add to the vegetable pot. Add the three jars of marinara, and stir.
Reduce head to medium-low, so that it cooks at a slow simmer, cover, and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. That’s it. I occasionally juke it up with fresh basil or oregano, but it’s not strictly necessary. I also sometimes add broccoli, but only some of the time since it turns it into a much chunkier, more vegetable-ier sauce. We have taken to eating over Barilla Pasta Plus spaghetti, which has protein, omega-3s, and fiber, but tastes like regular old empty-calorie pasta. And don’t forget some freshly-grated parmesan!
There’s nothing magical here, but I can say that this sauce is universally popular, and we always end up eating all the leftovers as well. It is also a unique combination, in my experience, of a meat sauce and a vegetable sauce, and it’s something I had to figure out myself since I’d known for years that I wanted something like this.
If you end up giving this recipe a try, please post back your results here, as well as any jukes/variations of your own. Buon appetito!