Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Italian Comfort Food

I've already mentioned that one of my favorite comfort foods is pasta, and does it get any better than spaghetti with a ground beef sauce?  Also, if you want to throw in a few extra veggies, you can serve this sauce over roasted spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Super tasty stuff!

Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef


1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne red pepper


Combine ground beef, onion, garlic, and green pepper in a large saucepan. Cook and stir until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Draine grease.

Stir diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste into the pan. Season with oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer spaghetti sauce for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Source: Allrecipes.com, submitted by Hank's Mom. Recipe can be found here.

Notes: I added the cayenne pepper because I like to have a little bit of kick to my sauce. I might have even added close to 1/2 tsp. Just add it to your taste, or leave it out if you don't want your sauce to have any kick. I also skipped the green bell pepper because I didn't have it on hand, I don't really love them that much.

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic


2 spaghetti squash (2 pounds each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, slivered
Coarse salt and ground pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a fork, prick squash in several places. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until soft to the touch, about 1 hour.

When cool enough to handle, halve squash crosswise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Scrape flesh into strands.

In large skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add garlic; cook until fragrant and just starting to color, about 5 minutes. Add squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until squash is very hot, about 5 minutes.

Recipe note: Holding squash half over a wide bowl, use fork to scrape the flesh into long, thin strands.

Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe, found here.

Notes: You can also use bottled, minced garlic and butter in place of the slivered garlic and the olive oil.

Above: Here is a bonus shout out to one of my all-time favorite meat sauces. I already blogged this one last year. It is Spanish Spaghetti and it is a wonderful mix of spices, ground beef, green olives, and capers. Ooooooh, it's so good. You can find our original post with the recipe here.


  1. I tend to overcook spaghetti squash sometimes and then you have mush instead of strands. But I need to do it again. It's so h-e-a-l-t-h-y!

    Love the idea of the kick in the spaghetti sauce. Sort of like when people put crushed red peppers on their pizza.

  2. yum! I am getting some good ideas for my next grocery planning week!