The Free Motion Quilting Project: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Leah's teaching how to piece a 9 patch block, so I'm off the hook for quilting this week. Instead I wanted to share one of our favorite family recipes with you today. We make this every Sunday night without fail. I've made this so many times I feel it's almost to the point of perfection.

It's a classic, American, comfort food.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Americanized Bolognese)

free motion quilting | Leah Day

1-2 pounds Italian pork sausage (local sausage is always the best so check out your farmer's market)
1 tsp dried caraway seeds
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, San Marzano certified (this is the most expensive can of tomatoes on the market, but trust me, they're worth it. They are the key ingredient to this dish and the flavor of authentic San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, are unmistakable. I use Cento brand. Always look for the import stamp on the can to ensure you're getting the real thing because you'll be paying top dollar and there are a number of substandard American brands that sell rip-off San Marzano tomatoes.)
4-5 large cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh basil, 8-10 large leaves, roughly torn
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, diced (fresh, garden herbs are a must)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine
1 Tbs fine red wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese

Pasta of your choice (for real Italian Bolognese sauce, you'd use a wide, thick, large noodle, like tagliatelle, or fettucini. Since what I make is an Americanized dish, I use angel hair, as this is a personal favorite. Either fresh or dried pasta will work.)

Optional ingredients:
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 Tbs carrot puree, or finely minced (this adds a natural sweetness)
1/3 cup porcini mushrooms, diced
1 to 1/2 pound ground round beef (take away half of the sausage and replace with beef)
1/2 cup homemade beef, lamb, or chicken stock
free motion quilting | Leah Day
To begin put your stovetop burner on medium heat.  Add meat, season with dried caraway seeds,  and brown all the way. (Note: This dish is best made in a cast iron pot.)
Drain off as much of the grease as possible and push the meat to one side of the pan. Add olive oil, let come to temperature, then drop in your garlic. You'll want it to nicely sizzle. Sautee in the olive oil for no more than two minutes as you don't want the garlic getting brown. Then incorporate oil and garlic into the meat. If using onion, carrots, and/or mushrooms, add these now too.

Deglaze with red wine and let cook down for two or three minutes.

Open can of San Marzano tomatoes and pour in. Crush whole peeled tomatoes with a fork or your hand. Reserve the can and put next to the pot.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Quickly add fresh basil and parsley, a squirt of fine red wine vinegar, and your stock or broth if using. Stir well.

Drop temperature to medium-low. Using a wide spoon, skim the acid and bubbles from the surface of the sauce. Remove the scum to the reserved tomato can. Depending on your meat and vegetable ordinance, you could have as much as 1/2 cup of grease which absolutely needs to be skimmed off.

Cook sauce for half an hour to an hour. The longer you cook, the better the sauce. Add water or stock when the sauce begins to look too dry.

Cook pasta al dente. Drain in a colander and toss with olive oil and 1/4 cup of the sauce.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
Until next week, let's go cook!



  1. Sounds great especially on a cold snowy day like today.

  2. Sound yummy Josh. I might try your recipe instead of doing my sewing this week or will I get in trouble with the teacher for not doing my homework, lol. I think both jobs can be achieved.

  3. Hi josh!!!!!
    I'm italian, your recipe is perfect!!!
    In italy this souce is call "ragù"
    Whe put not only sausages, but also a mixed of macinated pork meat!!!

  4. Josh - you are a true Renaissance Man!


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