My Mom's Spaghetti
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Everyone has to have something they make from their Mom. This is mine. I’ve added a few extra seasonings as well as wine (this of course would have never occurred at my Tea-totaler home where even non-alcoholic wine was considered far too evil). I like to use the vegetable sauce when making dairy dishes such as lasagna, though it is also good just on top of spaghetti. It is much more robust and filling than ordinary marinara sauces. Both sauces can be made as sweet as you like (a true sign of Midwestern cuisine) by the addition of sugar. I usually quadruple the recipes and freeze (something I learned from my working Mom).


Meat Sauce

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed

  • olive oil

  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef

  • 28 oz. tomato sauce

  • 12 oz diced tomatoes

  • 8 oz. tomato paste

  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms

  • ~1/4c sugar (or to taste)

  • 1 T salt (or to taste)

  • ½ t black pepper

  • ½ t fennel seed (my addition—I’m not sure anything so exotic existed in Marietta in the 1980s and 1990s)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 ½ T oregano

  • 1 T basil

  • ½ T marjoram

  • ½ c red wine

  • ½ c water

Brown meat, onion and garlic in oil. Drain the fat. Add all of the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Add more water if necessary.

Serves 4-6 


Vegetable Sauce

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1-2 med. carrots, cut into match sticks

  • 2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced about ¼ inch thick

  • 1 small summer squash, cut as for zucchini

  • 2 bunches of broccoli cut into ½ inch pieces

  • olive oil

  • 56 oz chopped tomatoes

  • 28 oz tomato sauce

  • 16 oz tomato paste

  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced

  • ¼ c sugar (or to taste)

  • 1 T salt (or to taste)

  • ½ t black pepper

  • 2 T oregano

  • 2 T basil

  • 1 T marjoram

  • 3 bay leaves

  • ¾ t fennel seed, crushed

  • ½ c red wine

Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, squash and broccoli in olive oil for ~10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1-2 hours. This sauce is pretty runny, so you may want to uncover it towards the end to cook off more of the water.

Serves 8