One of the beautiful qualities of spaghetti, and in fact about a lot of Italian cooking is that there is little requirement for an exact measurement of ingredients to make an excellent sauce. For this reason, spaghetti is one of the best dishes for the Kung Fu Cooking Guy to make. Those of you who have been following the previous articles may have noticed that I don’t spend a lot of time going over measurements for ingredients. A little here, a little there and you’re good. Am I a dangerous risk taker? Maybe. Am I just plain lazy? Definitely.
So you might be asking yourself, Jack, you dangerous, crazy, risk-taking but mostly lazy cooking guy, what is it that goes into your spaghetti sauce? An excellent question. To start with, I use spaghetti sauce. Bear with me because I know it sounds complicated and redundant, but this is America and no one is going to get too upset if I open a jar of Prego. There are some who will, but they won’t get too upset and I think I can deal with it.
But it’s not just about the jar or three of Prego that goes into the pot, it’s also about what goes into the Prego. Although their sauce is pretty good right out of the jar, I mean honestly, it’s just not finished. Sure, they put Italian seasoning in the sauce, but more seasoning just makes it more better, right? Of course it does. And with Italian cooking the most important more that the sauce needs more of is garlic.
I’m not sure if it’s true that garlic keeps vampires away but when I’m done making my spaghetti sauce I don’t see too many vampires hanging around. The garlic I use is minced garlic in olive oil. I like to throw in a couple of heaping spoonfuls, at least. To some this might seem a bit strong, but again, no vampires hanging around.
Another useful ingredient in spaghetti sauce is sugar. This is nothing special, just an old traditional way to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, so don’t think I’m really crazy or anything like that, I mean, just because I am. Remember, dangerous risk-taker.
Other than that, a little dash of paprika and a dash of chili powder to add a touch of flavor. My family will think it’s great and I don’t have to give away my secrets, although I’ve just done that and now they can make great spaghetti sauce without me. Oh well. There’s nothing like making my self obsolete.
This is going to be a meat sauce, not a marinara sauce, which has nothing to do with Ed Marinaro, who played a cop on Hill Street Blues and set 16 NCAA records as a running back at Cornell. Ok, what does that have to do with anything?
The meat I will be using for my meat sauce will not be ground beef, so those of you who were taking notes and thought you’d get ahead of me please go back and cross that off. To make a more tasty, or is it tastier, sauce is to add ground Italian sausage. The one I use comes in a tube and is made by Bob Evans because 1. There is something weird about meat that comes in a tube and 2. Nobody makes pork sausage products better than Bob Evans.
But hold on. There will be not just ground Italian sausage but also regular Italian sausage cut up into meatball-sized hunks. The Italian sausage I like to use is Johnsonville because 1. Big hunks of sausage in your spaghetti is like finding a tiny treasure in every bite and 2. Nobody makes pork sausage products better than Johnsonville ... Wait a minute ...
With a package of noodles it all comes together in a beautiful cacophony of sauce and meat and, well, noodles. Slap some on a plate with some garlic bread and a little bit of parmesan cheese and it’s ready to go.