Given this blog, my personal chef business and all I’ve learned and done with food over the past few years, it’s still hard for me to believe I haven’t always been a “cook.”
In fact, when Dustin and I first started dating, he did most of the cooking and I would help him. Full disclosure: I used to need him to grate the cheese because I was afraid I would grate my knuckles (after several bad experiences). Though he still enjoys cooking (barbecuing, especially), he generally leaves the kitchen to the expert — me!
Now, it’s not like I didn’t know how to boil water before we met (cheese grating story, notwithstanding), but I certainly didn’t have the understanding and appreciation for food that I have today.
In fact, a major turning point in my journey to “chefdom” came from this here recipe for Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.
You see, I grew up watching and helping my mom cook for our family, so I definitely got an education in how to put a meal together and what food tasted good. However, I never really veered from her cooking or from written recipes until I got older and decided to try some things out on my own to “improve” upon what I had seen. I started with spaghetti.
Ahhh, spaghetti. One of my all-time favorite comfort foods. So dependable and easy and delicious.
I began playing around with different ingredients and techniques and, eventually, created something pretty darn delicious.
I still remember the pride I felt when Dustin would tell people how good my spaghetti was — that it was the best he’d ever had and it was so wonderful. Nowadays, he doesn’t talk so much about my spaghetti as much as he talks about my cooking (equally awesome), but I still remember that new feeling of pride in my cooking I had never experienced before.
I’m so excited to share this Spaghetti and Meat Sauce recipe with you. Simple. Basic. Good. Just the way we like it.
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lb. lean ground beef (90/10)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6-7 cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp. died oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
4 cups tomato sauce (I’d recommend this Simple Tomato Sauce or my Roasted Tomato Sauce)
1/2 package spaghetti noodles (I’d recommend my Homemade Pasta Noodles)
optional: grated parmesan cheese for garnish
optional: garlic bread
Prepare spaghetti noodles as directed. When al dente, drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef to the oil. Lightly season with a pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Break into crumbles and brown well. Once well-browned, remove the meat from the skillet and set aside in a bowl, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add 1/2 tbs. olive oil to the drippings, if needed, and return heat to medium-high. Add onion and shallot and cook until onion begins to sweat. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until onion and mushrooms are tender.
Return the ground beef to the skillet and stir to combine. Add the seasonings (oregano, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder and bay leaf) and the tomato sauce and stir to combine. If too thick, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water to loosen. Once the mixture begins to simmer, reduce heat to medium and cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over spaghetti noodles and garnish with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese. Add a slice of garlic bread, too!