Our Sunday was all about running some errands, doing stuff around the house, a movie and making a big pot of spaghetti.
I make a decent spaghetti sauce, at least Mrs. P thinks so. When we were growing up in Wheeling, West Virginia, there was a neighborhood Italian restaurant, Figarettis. It was a classic Italian family restaurant. (I believe they are still in business but in a new location.) The family’s children went to school with us. Their sauce was so good, my mother was always trying to duplicate it. Her recipe is the basis for mine. The one unusual ingredient in the Figaretti sauce was anise. That’s the spice with a little liquorice taste you usually encounter in Italian sausage. I’m not a big liquorice fan, but just a hint of underlying flavor in the sauce makes a tremendous difference.
I start with Ragu, Prego or whatever other pre-made sauce is on sale and then go from there. I add a ton of garlic, and additional spices. The “secret ingredient” is sugar. It takes a little of the bite from the tomato sauce. Here is the basic recipe for a beginner.
Brown a pound of ground beef and a pound of some Italian sausage together. (Slice open the sausages and brown it along with the ground beef.)
Drain the fat
Add one jar of Ragu or Prego meatless spaghetti sauce, and a good handful of chopped onions and sliced mushrooms, as you will.
The key is in the spices. Add…
- At least two garlic cloves, either sliced thin or minced. Feel free to add more.
- Crushed hot pepper, as you wish.
- A small amount of Anise, if you have it.
- Salt to taste.
Simmer for about an hour (Or longer. The longer the better.). When it is almost done, taste. If it is bitter, add a little sugar. It will take the tang off the tomatoes and bring out the other flavors.