Strategic Spaghetti Planning

by New Idiom

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Need a real meal to carry you over this week? Not going home for spring break? You don’t need a lot of time, or a plane ticket, to relish this home cooked classic. Mom’s spaghetti with meat sauce. My mom’s, that is. And it only takes twenty minutes. If you need more visual guidance, pay me a visit – I have a video of this one from my action script final for Grimes last spring that I love to share.


1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb. ground sirloin or other beef of your choice
1 12oz. can of tomato sauce (I recommend Hunts Tomato Sauce)
1 tablespoon of oregano (you can get oregano in a jar or in a tube and it works deliciously when you can’t swing fresh, which is just about always for me)
1 tablespoon basil (Optional - I don’t always add this. And I do love it fresh when I do but also use it out of a jar; it’s just too handy to be a snob about. You could also swap this for the oregano if you prefer.)
1 dried bay leaf (be sure to take this OUT at the end. You should not eat this.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Barilla thin spaghetti (I love whole grain. It doesn’t have the strong flavor that whole wheat does.)


1. Boil water to pasta instructions or a couple minutes shy to ensure al dente.
2. Chop onion. I don’t mean to patronize anyone on this step but am aware that some people do not know the easy way to chop an onion. As shown in the pictures: cut off the ends, cut down the middle (across the missing ends); cut horizontal “planks” (shown, but optional), cut “sticks” vertically; and finally, cut cubes across the sticks. You can run the knife across a few more times after this for a finer chop but you’ll have a sufficient head-start.


3. Sautee the onion: Drizzle the pan with a approx. 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on med-hi heat, and add the chopped onions to “sweat them out” until translucent.


4. Chop and add garlic: see onion example or just get after it. Add it to the pan. (I always let the onion get a head start because it takes longer to cook and garlic likes to burn.)
5. Add meat: when the onions are translucent and the garlic fragrant, push them to the sides of the pan and add the beef to the center, breaking it up while it browns.


6. Sauce: when the meat is browned, add the sauce and combine. Sticklers might try to drain the “fat” from the meat before adding the sauce. <Insert here a roll of the eyes.>
7. Spices: Add the bay leaf and the oregano (and basil, optional) and stir.
8. Add your salt and pepper to taste. Remember, you can always add more but over-salting early is a bummer.
9. Add spaghetti to boiling water (timing usually works this way). Give it 9 minutes and drain.


10. Serve it up. (Don’t forget to take out the bay leaf.)

Naturally, spaghetti and meat sauce make great leftovers and overs and overs. If I am low on pasta or need the change, sometimes for lunch I put the sauce over a piece of whole grain toast with a few shaves of parmesan cheese. It makes about as much sense and tastes as good as eating any other meat with bread, right? Eat with a knife and fork.

Still hungry? Add a fried egg to that sammy.