I make this dish regularly. It's easy, yummy, and a bit "dressier" than plain ole spaghetti, even though it has similar ingredients. This recipe will feed a hungry family of six, with leftovers for lunch the next day. Adjust according to your family's needs.
- 1 Pound of Ground Beef or Turkey
- 2-3 tsp. of Armadillo Willy's Rib Rub or your favorite Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 Onion, chopped
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 28-44 ounces of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 15 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
- 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese (I don't know if this is part-skim or not. It's just cheese, folks!)
- 1 Tbsp Salt (yes I know it's not in the picture. Get over it.)
- 1 pound Pasta Noodles - Rotini and Penne pasta work really well for this dish, but I also use macaroni noodles and shells. I've never actually used spaghetti for this recipe, but I'm sure it would work. Just use whatever you have on hand.
Brown ground beef with onion and garlic in a large saute pan with a lid. I got this nice 5.5 qt covered nonstick saute pan at Sam's Club for $20. I may go get another for a backup because I like it so well and the price is right, baby!
Add Rib Rub to taste (I put in three ample four fingered pinches here, approximately 2 tsp, maybe more).
Here is the ground beef/onion mixture partway through browning. There's no pink left, so it's probably safe to eat, but DO NOT STOP HERE. The meat is not yet brown. It's kinda tan, is all.
Now maybe I'm telling y'all something you already know, but a thorough browning of meat (whether it be ground, roasts, steak, or chops) is necessary - no - crucial to bring out all the yummy flavor in the meat. If you stop when it looks like the picture above, your dish will turn out just "ok". Keep browning over medium-high heat until all the water has cooked out and the sound of the cooking meat increases to a higher pitch. It may even pop a bit if your ground beef has a higher fat content.
This is what properly browned ground beef looks like. The smaller pieces, especially, are a dark brown. You may think they look burned. That's the tricky part - to brown them up to just before the point of burning, but not to burn them. You don't want your stove on high for this part, or you most certainly will burn the meat. I have an electric stove with a range of Low, 2-9, and High heat. I brown meat on 9 to start, and as the water cooks off, I lower the temp to 8 1/2 or 8, to keep browning without burning.
You may wish to brown the meat to the just barely tan stage before adding the onion and garlic to ensure that they do not burn during the final browning of the meat.
Drain mean if necessary, and add spaghetti sauce and canned tomatoes. Turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add 1 Tbsp. salt to 2-3 quarts of water in a large pot; bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Do not overcook pasta; you want it to have a little firmness when you bite it. That's called "al dente". It's Italian for "to the tooth". When you say it people will think you are really smart because you know an Italian word. It's great for the personal pride cycle.
Drain pasta and add it to the tomato/meat mixture in the saute pan. Remove from heat and add mozzarella cheese, then serve it to your hungry hordes.