I love spaghetti. I love the thin, flavorful kind restaurants serve that I can't recreate at home. I love the thick, rich sauce my mom makes and the fine ground beef and basil kind my sister-in-law makes. Marinara, bolognese, red sauce - I won't turn it down.
And here is my current favorite way to make spaghetti. It comes from a prolific poster on Recipezaar whimsically named "Jo Mama." Here's her original recipe. I haven't really changed it, but it is easy to make substitutions based on what you have in the house. This recipe make a ton - you'll have enough for probably 3 lbs. of spaghetti, but it freezes very well.
The whole family - even Ben! - loves this sauce. I hope you will, too!
2 lbs Italian sausage, casings removed (mild or hot or combination)
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes*
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 cups water (for a long period of simmering for flavors to meld. If you don't want to simmer it as long, add 1 cup)
3 teaspoons dried basil (if you are using fresh, add 1/4 cup chopped before serving)
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 lb thin spaghetti
1 T. butter
1.In large, heavy stockpot, brown Italian sausage, breaking up as you stir.
2.Add onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened.
3.Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water.
4.Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.
5.Stir well and barely bring to a boil.
6.Stir in red wine.
7.Simmer on low, stirring frequently for at least an hour. A longer simmer makes for a better sauce, just be careful not to let it burn! If the sauce is thick and you would like to continue simmering it, add another 1/2 cup of water.
8.Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Toss with butter.
9.Add sauce to drained spaghetti noodles and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
*Note: you do not need to be too careful about which tomato products you use, as long as you are using tomatoes packed in sauce, not juice. For example, the last time I made this sauce I only had crushed tomatoes, so I used 70 oz. (the equivalent of all three tomato items in the recipe).