I worked in food service for years, and meat sauce with pasta is one of the best recipes to have if you’re not sure how many people will show up. You can always keep a pot of boiling water on the stove if you need to have more pasta. Angel hair is a quick pasta. If the sauce gets low, have a jar or two of prepared marinara sauce to add to meat sauce. Always be ready for emergencies; such as kids bringing home friends, etc. If you happen to have sauce left over, freeze it and pull it out later. You can make baked pastas by layering sauce with any pasta you like and mozzarella and parmesan cheese. End with sauce on top and bake. It’s great and never looks like a leftover.
Meat Sauce with Angel Hair Pasta:
3 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
3 pounds of ground chuck beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 large can of tomato paste
(For spicier sauce….add a little red pepper flakes)
Heat a heavy bottom large pan; add olive or vegetable oil. Brown ground chuck until well done; drain off excess oil. Add chopped vegetables and cook over medium heat until onion and bell pepper wilt. Add garlic and seasonings to meat. The dried herbs will release their oils and flavor into the meat. Add all the cans of tomato and reduce heat. Simmer slowly for at least one hour. Flavors are better the longer you simmer. This is a thick sauce. If you need to stretch the sauce, add more tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes. Taste to be sure the seasonings are to your liking. You can always add more; sometimes a pinch of sugar is good if there is any bitterness.
Prepare angel hair pasta or your favorite pasta as directed on the box. Remember to add salt to the water.
Top with parmesan cheese. Add a salad with Italian bread or garlic bread. You’ve got a heartwarming meal for a few or a crowd.
May God Bless You!
Elaine Barrett, along with husband, Rick, owns and operates The Flower Gazebo on Washington St., in downtown Albany and is part of a family of excellent southern cooks. She recently she has written and published a cookbook, “In the Kitchen with Elaine”.