One of my favorite meals growing up was spaghetti. And I can see why my mom made it fairly often. It was quick, relatively easy and no one complained. Sometimes when money was tight, she might buy that really horrible powdered spaghetti sauce mix (I believe it’s in between the taco seasoning and biscuits & gravy powdered mixes). Talk about disappointment. You walk into the kitchen to find noodles boiling in water, spaghetti sauce on another burner and soon it would dinner paradise. Only to realize that my mom was trying to use chopped up olives & mushrooms to mask the taste of astronaut spaghetti sauce.
To give my mom credit, she did make a killer lasagna (thanks mom). And she wasn’t a ‘horrible’ cook or anything, it’s just that I may have branched out a bit more (does anyone else find it interesting that spices were a novelty in the 80s home?). Well, this Spaghetti Meat Sauce is good. And when I say meat sauce, I mean, MEAT SAUCE. I’m not talking about skimpy amounts of beef where the ratio between tomato sauce & meat is more like a “flavored” meat sauce. I’m not talking about Ragu. I’m talking about meat being the main ingredient. At the end of this meal you won’t find yourself saying, “Where’s the beef?” The 80s is gone my friends, so retire your lemon pepper, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, dressing in a bottle for Iceburg lettuce salad (in case you still have it in your cupboard). Enjoy the first time ever–picture tutorial!
Clean Spaghetti Squash pricked with a fork all over--ready for destination oven.
Cooked for an hour in the oven at 350. Sliced in half, remove the seeds, and scrap with a fork to produce "noodles."
Meet the carrots, no need to peel.
Yes blurry, but do you see my fingers curved inward--do this!
Using the curved fingers to hold the carrot (above pic) and holding the knife with the other hand. Thinly slice off a side, turn it over to slice another. Until all sides are sliced.
Until it looks similar to a Lincoln Log.
Now cut them into four smaller logs, like so.
Get them lined up, ready for a small dice.
They should look something like this, but no one will judge if they're not.
Oh those cute little diced carrots.
Celery. Start the cut here and keep rocking it to get more julienne-like cuts. Then small dice.
Meet Mr. Onion who will only make you cry.
Once again, pay attention to finger positioning to avoid chopping your finger off. Cut off the top portion, not the scraggly root portion.
After slicing it in half and keeping the root intact. Put one hand on top.
With the edge of the chef knife, begin to make a slice at the bottom of the onion. Use your hand on top to help it through if need be.
As you can see, I've created three slices, which will give me four layers. And notice the knife has not come in contact with the root.
Here's a front shot of the sliced onion, now for the vertical slices.
Vertical slices. Use the tip of your chef knife to do this.
Now it's time to cut it into a small dice.
I poured about 2 Tb olive oil in my dutch oven over medium heat. After heated a bit, I added the mirepoix.
Skipped a couple steps, but do you blame me--I was hungry.
Dinner is served.
A Year Ago: Roasting a Chicken or Cleaning the Carpet
I’m a big fan of meat sauce, not so much meatballs, but give me meat sauce and I’m a happy woman. However, I rarely make it for my family, because of the pasta noodles. This is a perfect little compromise in my book and my girls don’t care anyway, because they’ll eat just the meat sauce (my kind of girls).
1 spaghetti squash
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
1 celery stick, small dice
1 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 Tb tomato paste
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped up small (not oil packed)
1 lb grass-fed hamburger beef
1 lb pastured pork sausage (no flavoring, but you could if you want)
2 cans (14 oz ea) diced tomatoes
2 (more) Tb tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Once it’s heated, place a sheet of aluminum foil on the middle rack and place your cleaned spaghetti squash on top. Bake for 1 hour.
Mirepoix: There are two types of mirepoix’s. The one I’m using is the traditional mirepoix, which is simply a mixture of diced carrots, onions, & celery. I am choosing extra virgin olive oil instead of butter to cook it. Do a small dice on each of the vegetables. Add the olive oil to your heavy duty pot and turn heat to medium. Give it a minute to heat up, then add the vegetables. Stirring and avoid burning or adding color at all to your onions. After it’s been cooking for 1 minute or so, add the salt. Stir and cook for an additional 4 minutes, or till the onions are soft.
Add the finely diced garlic to the mirepoix and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Now add the first round of 2 Tb tomato paste. Mix completely with the mirepoix and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped up sun dried tomatoes. Stir an additional 20 seconds. Now add both meats. Stir the mirepoix/tomato mixture all into the meats, until thoroughly incorporated. Stir occasionally to evenly cook the meat. Once the meat is mostly cooked (small to little traces of pink left), add the diced tomatoes and stir around. Turn the heat to low/simmer.
Add the bay leaf. Place the oregano in your hand and grind it up in your hand to release the oils in it. Now add it to the pot. Add the remainder 2 Tb tomato paste & stir around. Cover and allow to simmer for anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour. If you have it on simmer for longer than 30 minutes, check on it periodically and stir. Season with salt & pepper before serving.
Your squash should be able to be sliced without any give. Scoop out the seeds. Get a medium bowl ready. With a fork, scrap the squash and you will begin to see it turn into miniature spaghetti “noodles.” Put the spaghetti squash into the bowl. Serve the squash and top with your meat sauce.