This is mine! My best friends tell me this sauce "is awesome!" so I just have to believe that! *LOL* This is the closest I have ever come to duplicating the delicious meat sauce I used to get at Nino's Resturant in Washington, D.C. at 2:00 am (ahem!). It's truly Italian-American in the best sense, so I hope you enjoy it (and please don't tinker with it too much, huh?)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves -- minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound ground beef round
1/2 pound lean ground pork or additional beef round
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 can tomato paste (6-oz.)
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 can crushed tomatoes (28-oz.)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon or to taste
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound Thin Spaghetti
Put olive oil into a cold Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until just barely hot. Add onion and carrot, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to bring out the flavors, and saute until softened. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more, but do not let garlic burn.
Add beef, and pork if used; cook and stir until no longer pink. Drain off excess fat. Add oregano, basil and red pepper flakes; mix well. a little more salt and pepper is good right here. Stir in the tomato paste. Stir in the wine until well-blended. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce and mix well. Stir in sugar and cinnamon and bring slowly to a simmer.
Simmer uncovered over low heat from 1 to 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in Parmesan; simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and divide into 6 warm serving plates. Ladle sauce over the pasta and serve with additional Parmesan on the side.
- Use only a non-stick or stainless pot for this; aluminum or cast iron yields a metallic taste.
- I added a heaping teaspoon of bacon fat to the olive oil and used all beef, no pork (but it's not necessary).
- Best brands of crushed and whole tomatoes are San Marzano, Muir Glen, Cento, or any others if the cans say tomatoes are "San Marzano".
- Any brand of tomato paste and tomato sauce is fine---I'll use the cheapest.
- A wooden or plastic spoon is best to stir so no metal-like flavors create an "off" taste to the sauce.
- This sauce freezes well in sealable 1-quart plastic containers.
- Also, if you really love meat, add some ready-to-cook frozen meatballs during the last hour of simmering.
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Suggested Wine: Valpolicella or Chianti Classico