Dave's best spaghetti recipe. And he's tried about all of them.
Good old spaghetti with red (tomato) sauce, there is no substitute. A nice side salad, a glass of Borolo or Valpolicella, maybe, and that is as close to heaven as we can get here on earth.
Chef Dave is a professional restaurant chef and restaurant manager.
Dave has tried a myriad of different red pasta sauce combinations over the years. And, presented here at New Italian Recipes is one that has drawn raves above all others. This recipe for the Italian staple does not use sugar as a lot do (pure, raw tomato sauce tends to be a bit bitter, whether you remove the skins and seeds from the tomatoes or not). Instead, Dave sautés his flavoring vegetables over low heat and covered to release the juices, then he adds red wine and balsamic vinegar (this remarkable Italian product actually "sweetens" a dish). He then lets the liquid reduce, thus adding an incredible "layer" of flavor, before even adding the tomatoes. To add another "layer" of flavor, Dave then adds "Butter Buds" a no calorie or fat, butter substitute and lets it "Marry" with the vegetables and wine/Balsamic reduction. (You can find Butter Buds in the Spice section of your super market.) Then another "layer of flavor" goes in, and so forth and so on. And, folks, that's how you wow a crowd. Go make a copy of this terrific sauce right now!
Yes, there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of recipes for basic spaghetti sauce out there, but so many are really just hashed over versions with almost identical ingredients. No real chemistry, similar to what you would get at a mediocre chain restaurant. The sauce recipe here is just as good with meatballs, over Italian sausage sandwiches, veal, chicken or eggplant parmigiano, etc.
New Italian Recipes Presents:
ChefDave's Best Italian Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
(A tasty meatball recipe follows)
Spaghetti (tomato) sauce (or gravy, depending on where you're from):
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 red or green bell pepper, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
4-5 cloves finely sliced garlic
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 balsamic vinegar
2 T Butter Buds or butter
1 28 oz. can of whole, peeled, Italian tomatoes, mashed into smaller pieces
1 28 oz. can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped coarsely (optional)
Spices: You can use 2 - 3 T Italian seasoning or a mixture of the following.
1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil or 1 T dried
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
3-4 sprigs fresh oregano or 1 T dried
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup minced black olives, (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces fresh or dried spaghetti type long pasta, cooked al dente and drained (whole wheat pasta is okay if you'd rather.)
Heat olive oil over medium in a soup-type pot with cover.
Flavor Layer 1: Add onions, bell pepper, garlic and celery. Stir well to coat with oil. Add 1 t salt.
Reduce heat to medium low and cover, simmering slowly about 6-8 minutes so the vegetables release some of their juices.
Layer 2: Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar. With pan uncovered, reduce liquid for 6-8 minutes. It should thicken a bit.
Layer 3: Add butter buds, stir well and cover again for 2 or 3 minutes.
Layer 4: Add both cans of the tomatoes, also olives and mushrooms (if using).
Layer 5: Wrap the rosemary, thyme and oregano in piece of cheesecloth large enough to hold all (bouquet garni) and tie the end off with a string. Add to the sauce. (Note:) If you don't have fresh herbs, use 1 T dried basil 1 T dried rosemary, 1 T dried thyme, and 1 T dried oregano, or add about 2 - 3 T Italian seasoning which should have all of these in it.)
Simmer about 1/2 hour covered, then add meatballs.
Simmer about another half hour.
If the sauce becomes too thick during the cooking, thin with either chicken stock or tomato juice.
Taste a spoonful of the sauce. At this point, if the taste suits you, add the spaghetti (Italian pasta), mix it in, and you are done.
Serve with good, toasted garlic bread.
Garnish with Italian Parsley.
This is really a kicked version of traditional Italian red spaghetti sauce. I think you'll find it "invigorating". Let us know!
Italian Meat Balls:
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Italian Romano cheese
1/2 cup Italian Parmigiano cheese
3/4 cup homemade Italian bread crumbs
3-4 T fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup whole milk or non fat half and half
1 1/4 lb lean ground beef
3/4 lb ground lamb or pork
Meat Ball Spice Mix:
(If you have these in non processed form, grind them in a coffee grinder)
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T ground allspice
1 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1 T sea salt
Mix everything in a bowl just like you would meat loaf.
Roll into balls in a dimension you prefer. We use 2-3 large tablespoons per meat ball.
Sauté in olive oil until just brown on the outside. Remove form heat and set aside.
Buon appetito always!
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