Thought I would pull this post from the archives for Father's Day because there's not much more that I can say, except that my Dad was the greatest. Oh, I already said that :) Happy Father's Day to all of you awesome Dads who make such an amazing impact on your children, just as my Dad did with me. And a Happy Father's Day to my beautiful Husband who is the greatest doggy daddy ever!
My Dad was a great guy. He was always there for my Sisters and I whether it be at sporting events, dance recitals or just to be there. He was a proud Dad and never missed an opportunity to let us know that. I was a pretty serious dancer growing up with dancing taking up the majority of my time. It's inevitable when your Mom is a dance teacher, you are a dancer, you don't have a choice. I had dance classes five nights a week and ALL DAY SATURDAY. While I loved dancing, I hated Saturdays. it was a lot of work and subsequently I have no reference when people my age speak of Saturday morning cartoons.
There were two things I did love about Saturdays though, every Saturday after classes my Dad picked me up and took me to our favorite Doughnut Shop for my favorite maple dipped doughnut. We would hang out at the shop chit chatting, catching up and enjoying each other's time. After our doughnut date my Dad and I would go home and make his spaghetti together. I got to do the chopping, perched on a chair of course, because I couldn't reach the counter. As the years went on the spaghetti making remained but the chairs got smaller and smaller until I could finally reach the counter all by myself. He loved this recipe and so do I.
The Doughnut Shop and spaghetti making are two of so many fond memories I have with my Dad. It's been years since his passing but every time I make this sauce it brings me back to some wonderful times. I cherish the fact that my Dad took the time out to make a special tradition for just the two of us. Despite the fact that I dreaded the Saturday 8 hour dance intensive, at least I had a couple of things to look forward to when it was over. And for that, I will always love maple dipped doughnuts, this delicious spaghetti sauce and most importantly, my Dad.
1 lb spaghetti
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large bell pepper, diced (green, red or yellow)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup water + more to thin to desired consistency
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small dried bay leaf
pinch red pepper flakes, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Brown the ground beef and sausage in a large skillet. Drain the fat and set the meat aside. Add a little oil to the pan and add the onion, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute over low-medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and continue sauteing for 5 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, basil, oregano and bay leaf and stir everything together. Bring the sauce to a high simmer. Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Being careful not to burn your tongue, taste the sauce and season to your liking with salt and pepper. Partially cover and simmer the sauce on low heat for 2 hours, stirring often. You may have to add a little more water throughout the cooking process to thin to your desired consistency.
Cook your spaghetti just until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.