Sunday, January 2, 2011

Meat Sauce

I like to "doctor up" cans and that's exactly what I do when I make spaghetti sauce.  I use a large can of the cheapest spaghetti sauce (usually the one that has the 4 cheeses in it), and then go from there.  This recipe will cover 12 to 16 ounces of dried pasta. For our pre - Christmas pasta dinner I tripled the recipe, used 2 lbs of mostaccioli and served Italian sausage baked in some of the sauce on the side.  Here's my recipe for a normal  pot that should make 4 to 6 generous servings:

1 large can store bought spaghetti sauce( I like the 4 cheese kind)
1 can V-8 juice
1 large onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 -4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl olive oil
1 lb ground beef or turkey ( or a combination)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil ( or one of my frozen basil cubes)
8 ounces mushrooms(optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving

In a large saucepot, saute the onion, green pepper and garlic until softened.  Add the Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, salt ,pepper and mushrooms, if using. Saute a few more minutes and add the meat and cook until it loses its color. Add the V-8 and canned spaghetti sauce and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Add the parmesan to the pot just before serving.

Variation: To add Italian sausage, bake  2-4 sausages at 350F for about 30 minutes.(they won't be quite done but will finish in the pot) Cut them into one inch rounds and add them to the pot just before adding the V-8 and spaghetti sauce.

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