Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spaghetti with Fresh-Tomato Meat Sauce

The key to making rich, flavorful meat sauces for pasta is time—and fresh ingredients. Whether you use ground veal, lamb, pork, or beef, as in this recipe, give the sauce at least two hours to develop the deepest flavors of the meat, tomatoes, and other ingredients. 

I used both beef broth and red wine in this recipe to add depth and a little complexity to the flavor—without a complex preparation. Once everything is in the pot, let it go, low and slow.

Sauce Ingredients
I use canned crushed tomatoes in many recipes, but there’s just no substitute for sweet, juicy fresh tomatoes cooked down to a fruity, rich sauce—made all the richer with Italian double-concentrated tomato paste. Look for it in the international section of your supermarket, usually sold in tubes.

For a delicious sauce with fewer ingredients, check out Slow-Cooker, Fresh-Tomato Marinara. (Freeze it in batches for months.)

Serves 4-5

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs stem tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste, preferably double-concentrated
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ground sirloin and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking into small chunks, until just cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat to a bowl. Drain excess fat from the pot.
Beef Beginning to Brown
Browned Beef
  1. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, broth, parsley, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes, crushing tomatoes with the back of a spoon.
Garlic and Onion
Tomato Mixture Beginning to Cook
Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook slowly, 2 hours. (The sauce should be fairly thick.)

Meat Returned to Pot
Cooked Spaghetti Sauce
  1. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain.
  2. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and add the cooked spaghetti, stirring well to combine.
To serve, divide the pasta and sauce among 4-5 shallow bowls. Pass Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table, for grating.

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