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Old 04-18-2009, 04:25 PM   #1
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Italian Spaghetti Meat Sauce questions

Hi everyone, I am going to make some italian meat sauce and I would like to know if I should fry the onions before I add the meat. Also, if there are any good recipes out there I sure would love to see them. My only problem is that the sauce cannot be too hot or my stomach will pay the price.
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Old 04-18-2009, 04:32 PM   #2
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I usually fry the meat a little, maybe 5 minutes and then just toss in the onions. Garlic, basil, oregano, pinch of thyme. I saute my mushrooms on the side before adding them in butter,garlic, and then deglaze with red wine. The best thing about Italian gravy is that it's forgiving. There are so many ways to make it. It's all about your taste and likes. Some people like green pepper in it, some like sausage as well as hamburger, it's all in what you like.
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:03 PM   #3
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I make a really quick sauce with one can of stewed tomatoes (juice and all) one small (6oz) can of tomato paste, sauted chopped onion, garlic, and a tbs of dried italian seasonings salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cooked ground beef (or pork, or sausage, whatever you like) and serve with tons of shredded parmesan. I am actually making this tonight for dinner!!
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:33 PM   #4
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Hi, Summer. Glad DC is a source of information for you.

When I make my spaghetti sauce, I first saute my chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil until the onion is just soft. If I'm using fresh mushrooms, I'll add them, too. Depending on my mood, the mushrooms are either sliced, chopped or quartered.

Then I add the whole mixture to, if I'm in a hurry, a jar/can of commercially-made spaghetti sauce and let it all simmer for a little while. If I want a sauce that has meat, I might brown some ground beef, drained, and add that or brown up some mild or sweet Italian sausage, drained. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Otherwise, if I'm making my sauce from scratch I'll begin the same way, without the jar/can of sauce, and then add some chopped canned tomatoes, with liquid, some tomato sauce, a little basil and oregano, salt and pepper, and a touch of granulated sugar. I may even add a little red wine. Let it simmer away for a while and enjoy.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:46 PM   #5
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I fry the meat first, then add the onion etc, the meat goes a bit brown on the bottom of the saucepan and i scratch it off for a bit of flavour before adding tomatoes :)

etc =

-add dried herbs along while meat is cooking, then add onion.
-add a clove of finely chopped garlic (add garlic after onion is slightly cooked so it doesn't burn)
-add tomatoes from a can or 2
-bit of water
let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally
not very exciting but its not hot either lol
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:19 AM   #6
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This is how I do it. In Italy it's called ragu.

Ingredients Imperial

Minced beef 14oz

Pancetta or streaky bacon 4oz 110g
4 large tins plum tomatoes 14oz each 400g each
1 large onion
2 large garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
Sprig of rosemary or a teaspoon of dried rosemary
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Red wine 2 glasses
Olive oil 3 tablespoons
Salt and pepper To taste To taste

NOTE: The ragu sauce will thicken considerably during cooking and that is how it is meant to be. But if it starts to stick to the pan, add a splash of wine or water.

If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, simply substitute the meat and bacon with grated carrots and chopped sweet peppers (and/or celery, French beans are pretty good as well!).

1 large pan

Finely chop the garlic cloves
Finely chop the onion
Chop the bacon
Finely grate the parmesan cheese


Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a medium heat pan large enough to take all the ingredients.
Add the onion, garlic and bacon and cook for 10 minutes until the onions are soft. Stir well to ensure the bacon separates and is evenly mixed in with the onions and garlic.

Turn the heat down a bit to medium low and add the tomatoes, mince, wine, rosemary and bay leaves. Stir well to ensure that everything is well mixed.
Cook on a low heat for two hours without the lid on the pan. Add wine or water if the ragu sauce begins to become sticky. Stir the sauce every half hour.

Ten minutes or so before the sauce is ready, start to cook the pasta. When the pasta is cooked, drain away the water and add the pasta to the ragu sauce.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and mix together well. Serve on warmed plates. Grate lots of Parmesan cheese over the ragu.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:32 AM   #7
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Psssssssst.......if you're in a rush and no one is looking you can open up a jar of sauce.......saute some onions and garlic ahead of time......add mushrooms and some red wine if you like......use a good jar of sauce, though, and not gu.....I also add some sugar as those are our tastes......oh, and it doesn't hurt to add some additional Italian seasonings (the dried kind),,fresh basil is great, too...........of course add meat or canned clams as well
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:35 AM   #8
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I always saute my onions in a bit of the grease from the meat. I brown the meat a bit, then make a "hole" in the center and put in the chopped onion. When it gets a bit soft, then I mix it in with the meat, but definitely do saute it a bit, it will change its flavour and make it less sharp and a bit sweet. If you toss raw onion into your sauce you won't get that sweetness.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:58 AM   #9
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Try adding some finely diced zucchini or carrots - or both - to counter any heat. This is also a good way to sneak in some vegetables and avoid having to add sugar!
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:57 PM   #10
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This is a little older thread, but I'll just throw in the contrarian view anyway.

I carmelize my onions for any tomato sauce but marinara (which should really use all fresh ingredients and be cooked very little). Definitely do carmelize them for a hearty meat sauce. But don't put the garlic in at the same time, you don't want to brown garlic much or it turns bitter.

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Old 04-29-2009, 07:08 AM   #11
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Jeff Smith has a recipe for Italian Gravy in his Cooks Italian cookbook. It's a little time consuming, but the results are worth it.

Started thinking about him when someone else started a thread about him.
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