Saturday, March 16, 2013

Uncle Ernie's Pasta Sauce

My relatives on Mom's side of the family (the Kesterson's and the Mardaga's) LOVE to eat.  Look at any family picture and you'll understand why I look the way I do and love to cook!  My Uncle Ernie Mardaga was quite the cook....not fancy food, just really good grub! Simple spaghetti was raised to culinary bliss by his homemade meat sauce. I can remember as a child sitting down with the entire family and “chowing down” on huge bowls of the stuff with lots of "sprinkle cheese" (grated Parmesan). Given the nasty weather here in Baltimore this weekend, take some time and make a batch of this hearty, stick to the ribs meat sauce and serve it over your favorite pasta. Enjoy!

Uncle Ernie Mardaga's Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic - minced
2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 large can ( 1 lb - 13 oz ) diced tomatoes***
1 can (use the can above) water
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. MSG
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp. sugar


Heat a saute’ pan and add 1 Tbs olive oil.  Brown the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and spoon the meat into a bowl with a slotted spoon.  Drain and discard the excess fat.

In a 6 quart Dutch oven or stew pot, saute’ the onion and garlic in some olive oil until translucent.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and seasonings and bring to a simmer.

Add the drained meat and the remaining ingredients to the tomato sauce pot and simmer about 1 hour on low heat, stirring often.  Keep lid tilted to allow the sauce to reduce without splattering all over your stove. Adjust he seasonings, salt and pepper as desired.
Serve over your favorite pasta.  Optional : Saute' some mild Italian sausage, cut into thin pieces and add to the ground beef.

***Uncle Ernie used pureed tomatoes, but I like the texture that comes from
using diced tomatoes. For extra richness, use the Italian San Marzano brand.
They are twice as expensive but 4 times as good!

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