Do you want to mimic at home that amazing meat sauce they make in the Italian restaurants? Well look no further =). In my opinion I think there are a few key steps in creating that authentic, thick, richly flavored, meaty sauce. I’ve learned a few things trying to imitate that amazingly delicious pasta sauce that I get at a few of my favorite Italian restaurants. One of them being, you need to cook the sauce low and slow, 5 hours minimum. If you want great sauce you’re going to have to have a little patience. This is one of those made with love recipes =). I think Roma tomatoes are best. A few weeks ago I made a similar sauce, entirely from scratch. I’m talking fresh Roma tomatoes, boiled, peeled, seeded and crushed them. It took far too much time and effort only to realize the next time around canned Roma tomatoes were better. They don’t seem as acidic. The flavors of the fresh basil and parsley in this recipe lend it fresh from the garden flavor. I didn’t want to use fresh herbs for the entire recipe (that would be pretty pricey if you don’t have an herb garden) so I chose fresh basil and parsley because they are my favorites in this recipe. Be sure to brown the meat and veggies (brown, not burn), that browned flavor is an important part of the sauces rich, robust flavor. The carrot may seem like a random ingredient but I’ve heard that it adds a bit of sweetness to the sauce therefor you won’t have to add any sugar. It also lends a good color. I know I packed a lot of herbs into this recipe, but it will help you use up those spices sitting in your spice cupboard before they lose their freshness.
I hope you love these pasta sauce. I would highly recommend serving it up alongside a loaf of fresh Crusty Rustic Bread (it takes about 3 minutes to prepare the no knead dough) spread with whipped garlic butter, and possibly a simple side salad with a copycat recipe of Spaghetti Factory’s Pesto Salad Dressing. I love Italian food! Enjoy!
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (85% or 90%)
- 1 medium carrot, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 (28 oz) cans crushed Roma tomatoes (I recommend Contadina)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 - 1 cup chicken or beef broth, to thin sauce if desired
- freshly, finely grated Romano and Parmesan cheese or Mizithra cheese for serving
- In a large non-stick sauce pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Crumble ground beef into pot (approximately 1 inch pieces). Brown beef, stirring occasionally (I was always taught to stir constantly but this makes your beef gray, let it brown on bottom and only stir occasionally) and breaking up beef as you stir, until cooked through. Drain ground beef, reserving 1 Tbsp fat in pot. Place browned beef in a food processor and pulse until finely ground, about 10 - 15 seconds, set aside.
- Saute carrot and onion in reserved fat over medium high heat until golden, about 4 minutes, adding in garlic during the last minute of sauteing. Remove from heat (this will reduce splattering) and stir in 2 cans crushed Roma tomatoes, remaining 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, sage, bay leaves, salt, pepper and browned beef. Return pot to low heat and simmer uncovered, 5 - 8 hours (yes minimum of 5 hours), stirring occasionally.
- Add broth to sauce to thin sauce if desired (at about 4 hours sauce will be pretty thick so if you want it any thinner just add broth to desired consistency. Also, once it reaches the thickness you want you can cover it with a lid to reduce further condensation). Remove bay leaves and serve sauce warm over pasta garnished with grated cheeses and additional chopped fresh parsley or basil if desired.
- Recipe Source: Cooking Classy