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My Grandmother's Spaghetti


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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (or 1 tspn dried parsley, crumbled)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil crumbled
  • 1 can Italian plum tomatoes - (28 oz) undrained
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cans tomato sauce - (8 oz ea)
  • 1 can tomato paste - (6 oz)
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese


Servings 4


Step 1

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until brown, breaking up with fork, about 8 minutes.

Drain drippings from Dutch oven. Mix parsley, bay leaves and basil into beef and cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, water, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm sauce over medium-low heat before using.)

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Place spaghetti in serving bowl. Pour half of sauce over. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan cheese separately. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining sauce for another use.)

This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings (makes 8 3/4 cups sauce).

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