Thanks all! Ok, you asked for the recipe, jpcher, so I'll provide it but just know that I make it from instinct so it has no exact measurements. This is why I never eat it the day I make it since I'm already full from all the tastings.
I had some today and it came out fantastic but still there is one thing I want to perfect and that is the meat. Let's see if anyone has any better ideas for this once they read the recipe. I'm also not that good at writing recipes so just be forewarned! I will bold all the ingredients to try and make it easier to read.THE "RECIPE":
Open a bottle of red wine
. (Red is preferred, but white is fine too)
Pour yourself a glass of the wine. What is sauce-making without a little vino enjoyment? Exactly.
Cut all the fresh vegetables however thick you want (I like them semi-thick cuts unless otherwise noted).
-One large onion
(Spanish or yellow is good, or anything else as long as it's about the size of a baseball - just don't use red onions! Those won't work well in this sauce!!!)
-One Green Bell Pepper
(No seeds or any of that weird texture white stuff in the middle!)
-Lots of garlic cloves
(as many as you like or just stop when you're tired from peeling them! I never use less than 8.) Smash and then chop into whatever size chunks you can handle. The smash brings the juices out nicely. I either lay a chef's knife over the clove and smash it or I use a flat cutting board and try to get multiple cloves all at once. It all depends on how safe I feel based on the wine I've consumed by this point. LOL!
-A few hot green peppers
, but de-seed them. No seeds in the sauce!! For other dishes, I usually cut them a different size than the bell peppers so as not to get them confused with each other, but in this sauce, it doesn't matter. They will practically disintegrate anyway.
-A bunch of mushrooms
. Half of one of those little square boxes or whatever you have left in your fridge is fine but just know that the more mushrooms you use, the better. I usually use at minimum ten mushrooms. If I have more, no problem. I just use all of those too! Maybe stop at 20. After that, it would just end up being mushroom sauce! Mushrooms shrink so though so it's hard to tell what they want from their other friends in the pot to make them happy. Just go with your instinct... I have yet to figure out their motivations but they are very good at compromising themselves to other flavors, so no worries there! They are a very friendly vegetable.
-If I happen to have tomatoes (optional)
that might perish, I cut those up and use them. If not, no worries. Fresh tomatoes aren't necessary for this sauce. I de-seed these too. Again, no seeds in the sauce!!!
By now, you should probably pour yourself another glass of wine.
Pour some olive oil
into a large, deep pot and when it gets hot, add the vegetables in this order:
Green bell peppers and onions (Saute a bit until they're looking wet and slightly cooked)
Mushrooms (Saute some more until all three are playing nicely together)
Start adding some spices now. I add hot red pepper flakes
, garlic powder
, black pepper
and parsley flakes
. Then give it a stir and continue on with:
Add the hot green peppers and the garlic and also add two squeezes of ginger paste
(new ingredient alert!)
Mix it all together and then you're ready for meat! (note, this is where I still need help)
Add one pound of extra lean ground beef
and try to keep the pieces small so it doesn't chunk up. Blend everything into the meat as fast as you can before the meat cooks too much! I also add some salt, garlic powder and paprika
here (new ingredient alert!) to make sure the meat itself will have some flavor. (This is where I need extra help perfecting the recipe!)
When it is all blended and the meat is brown, add one of those small cans of tomato paste
. (Add the fresh cut tomatoes at this point too, if you had them. Add them before the tomato paste.)
Blend, blend, blend by stirring, stirring, stirring. No stopping.
At any point in all this dry sauteing, if the ingredients get dry, just add more olive oil. Similarly, if your wine glass gets dry, just add more wine. See? It's a very easy and laid-back recipe!
When it looks good, open one 635ml jar of Prego Original Recipe Pasta Sauce
(or pour yourself a glass of wine first, depending on what you did during the sauteing.)
Pour the sauce into the pot and blend. Run the hot tap water and fill the jar to almost full. Shake the jar so all the sauce comes off and then pour all that into the pot too.
Bring to a boil (**This I may stop doing) and then start adding more spices, slowly and tasting as you go along. A dash of ground cinnamon
(new ingredient alert!! Careful not to add too much or it will overpower the other flavors!), a bit more salt to taste, more hot red pepper flakes if you like it spicy, black pepper.
When I taste it next, if the hot is overpowering, I add some regular white sugar (unless I'm going to do the chili option that I'll describe later.)
And then we stir and simmer and simmer and simmer some more! Stir every 10 or 15 minutes. You can actually simmer it for however long you like but I find it's better if you can at least simmer for an hour and a half.
Keep tasting while simmering and add whatever spice strikes your fancy. Also add water and refill your wine glass as needed.
At some point during all the tastings, decide if you want some of your sauce to be chili instead. If so, transfer half of it into another pot, add some red kidney beans (canned - optional and only if you want to branch out the sauce!)
and cook through. Now you magically have two meals! It will be good with some cheddar cheese on top and some toast or corn tortilla chips. YUM!
When it's done, just take it off the heat. It will thicken some at this point too.
To eat, pour it over the spaghetti and sprinkle parmesan cheese
over it. A piece of garlic toast
is a perfect accompaniment.
Then just freeze everything and eat it whenever you want. There will be a lot! If I missed anything (and I'm sure I did!), I'll revise the post.