Monday, April 30, 2012

Michael's Spaghetti or Lasagna Sauce

Michael says he won his bride with this awesome recipe. This recipe makes 16 – 20 large servings, so start with a large pot. The sauce freezes very well and makes an excellent quick dinner for working folk.  The first time you prepare a meal with the sauce, count the number of ladles you use and put an equal amount into freezer containers.  After the first meal, there are usually about 8 containers of three servings each for later use. Serve with whole grain pasta.

The surprisingly awesome nutrition facts are at Calorie Count.

Michael's Spaghetti/Lasagna Sauce

1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 stick of butter or margarine     
4 – 5 large garlic cloves, minced  
1 large onion (or 2 med.) chopped
4 small cans mushroom stems and pieces, drained
2  28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes 
5  6-oz. cans unsalted tomato sauce
2 12-oz cans tomato paste
1  6-oz. can water (use a tomato sauce can)
3/4 cup of good burgundy wine (never use “cooking” wine)
1/2 cup dried parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. granulated beef bouillon
1/4 cup dried oregano leaves                               
1 packed Tbsp. of brown sugar
3 Tbsp. dried basil                                                               
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese            
1/2 tsp. garlic salt                                                    
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp. salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground celery seed
3 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 tsp. each EXTRA pepper and garlic powder used when browning the beef


Heat the olive oil and margarine or butter in the pot, and sweat the onion and garlic until transparent.  Add all tomato ingredients, water, mushrooms, and wine.  Stir until blended.  Add all the dry ingredients, including parmesan cheese, and blend.  Cover and set aside on low heat, gradually bringing to a slow boil.

In a separate pot, brown the ground beef with a bit of oil.  As it cooks, sprinkle in an EXTRA 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder and an EXTRA 1/2 tsp. of black pepper.  Once the meat is brown, DRAIN IT THOROUGHLY or the sauce will be oily.  Then add the drained meat to the sauce.

Cover the meat/sauce mixture and simmer for at least three hours, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings.


Here are several things I do that are optional, but which I believe add to the flavor:

Before adding the mushrooms, take the time to mince one of the cans of stems and pieces.  This gives a uniform mushroom flavor to the sauce.

Sliced fresh mushrooms can improve the appearance of the sauce.  If you elect to use them, lightly sauté about 1/2 to 3/4 of a lb. with the onion and garlic, rather than adding them later on.

Just after draining the ground beef, return it briefly to the browning pot, add a generous splash of burgundy and mix for an additional minute or so before adding the beef to the sauce mixture.)

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