The Taste of Austerity: The Ultimate Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti Mike Kevin Maul

Or: The Ultimate Tomato Sauce with Meat for Spaghetti Bolognese, Taco Salad, and Lasagne. (Yes, for all of them!)

The awesomeness of this sauce hit home with me today, when in one hour, I wanted to get the sauce going, spend 15 minutes on my rowing machine, and take a shower. I did it all in exactly one hour, and four hours later, had taco salad for dinner.

First, let me say that my family is of neither Italian nor Mexican descent; a culinary expert in either of those cuisines would probably find this recipe basic. But the dozens of people I've served it to over the years have loved it, and I don't think they were just sayin'. (Just sayin'!)

I grew up in a childhood bubble eating spaghetti bolognese, taco salad, and lasagne approximately once a month. It never occurred to me these might use the same sauce, until I came home from university one summer and asked my mom for the recipes. My mind was blown, and to this day, I make the sauce off the original card she gave me in '92.

Tomato Sauce for Spaghetti, Taco Salad & Lasagne

Brown 2 lbs. ground beef, drain fat, then add one large, chopped onion and three cloves of garlic and sautee

If you're in a hurry, at the same time, start heating, in a stock pot, 3L plain tomato sauce (the kind made from strained tomatoes, not by Ragu or Classico)

Add 2 tablespoons (T) sugar, 2 teaspoons (t) chili powder, 2t dried oregano, 2t cumin powder and 2t salt

Add beef and onion, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for at least two hours

For Taco Salad

Serve with corn chips, rice, lettuce, grated cheese, black olives, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, green onions and avocado, and let everyone make their own creation.

For Lasagne

In a bowl, mix 500g cottage cheese, three eggs, 3 cups (C) mozzarella, 1 C cheddar cheese, 2t dried parsley, 2t dried oregano

In a 9x13 pan layer the following:

  • one small scoop of sauce
  • one layer of fresh lasagne noodles
  • 1/2 of the cheese mixture, spread to cover the noodles
  • enough sauce to cover the cheese
  • one layer of fresh lasagne noodles
  • the other half of the cheese mixture
  • enough sauce to cover the cheese

Bake for 45 minutes at 180C/350F

Spaghetti Bolognese

Really? I didn't think so.