This recipe isn't completely homemade because we use a jar of sauce as the tomato base, and then just add a whole bunch of other stuff to make it taste better and more nutritious. While fresh tomatoes are great, they aren't always in season, and are a lot more expensive than buying the already made sauce or canned tomatoes. We did however use fresh herbs which added some extra flavor. Finely diced onion, carrot, and celery make a great base for the sauce, and they add some texture to the final product. We always use ground beef or turkey in our sauce, but the meat could be omitted. This is far from your typical "marinara" sauce you might think of going with spaghetti- but in my opinion it's so much better!
1-1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey
1/2 t red pepper flakes
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 jar of tomato sauce (we like Classico or Bertolli)
1 14 oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped herbs (we used oregano, thyme, and basil from the garden)Freshly grated Parmesan
Directions:In a large sauce pan over medium heat, brown the meat with a teaspoon of salt and the red pepper flakes. Break up the meat as it browns, and when it is done drain it with a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside.
Remove some of the fat, until you are left with about two tablespoons worth in the pan (enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan). Add the celery, onion, and carrot and stir to combine. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium to medium-low for about 6-8 minutes until the vegetables have softened, and then add the garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes longer.
Add the sauce and canned tomatoes, and then mix in the fresh herbs.
Bring the sauce to a simmer and turn to low heat. Add the ground beef and continue to simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
Boil your favorite pasta to have with the sauce and sprinkle with the freshly grated Parmesan on top before serving.