Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce

It's officially fall and today is a nice balmy day at 64 degrees so far.  I do love the cool mornings, but I'm sure that this won't last for long as we've had one hot summer...and it's not over yet.

As I'm sitting here watching Rick Steves' ITALY Cities of Dreams shows I'm taken back to my trip to Italy with my mom and the wonderful memories we made.  One of my best vacations ever!  Of course the food was outstanding.  I can remember every dish we ate all those years ago.  Now that's an impression, and that's some good food.

So I'm getting a hankering for some comfort food.  So let's make some pasta.  Fall is the perfect time for comfort food.

You may recall that a neighbor of mine is from Sicily.  She's passed on now but I treasure the time I got to spend with her hearing her stories of traveling to America at the age of 14 on a boat, landing in New Orleans!  What an adventurous woman.  And her food?  to die for.

Today's recipe is a meaty pasta sauce and is a variation of her Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce. Oh! this is soooo good.  The recipe makes quite a bit of sauce, but not to fret, this freezes wonderfully.  I've placed my extra sauce in a airtight container and it will keep in the freezer for several months to take out and have again on a cold fall night.  Perfect double duty!  It also takes a while to make this sauce so make sure to do this on a weekend.

While I've never been to Sicily it's certainly on my bucket list. Thank you Nettie (my 4th grandmother!) for all your stories and your inspiration. Nettie's tomato marinara, Sicilian Sauce is wonderful if you don't like meat in your sauce.

Manga! Manga!

Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce

adapted from my Sicilian neighbor Nettie

serves 6

1/2 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage, ground or casings removed
1/2 lb. 10% lean ground sirloin

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15oz cans of good quality tomato sauce
1 6oz can of tomato paste
3 cups water
1 t salt
2 t dried parsley
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t red pepper flakes
Cooked spaghetti
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook sausage and ground sirloin in a large skillet over medium heat about 6 min.  Stir meat as it cooks until it crumbles.  Add onion and garlic to the meat and continue to cook and stir another 4 minutes or until onion is soft and meat is no longer pink.  Drain if necessary.  Set aside.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, add tomato sauce, paste, and water.  Stir to combine.  Add your spices, salt, parsley, basil, thyme, and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine.  Add your meat and onion mixture. Cook on medium low for about 40-50 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.  Serve over hot spaghetti and top with grate Parmesan cheese if desired.

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