The Doris Project (TDP) Week 5: Spaghetti Sauce

SauceRecipebfLOI came across this hand-written recipe in The Doris Project bag and figured; if someone cared enough to write the recipe down, I should at least give it a try.


I needed to make a few changes first.

To begin with – three pounds of ground beef seemed, ermmm, overkill on the meat, so I scaled things back and added a few extra veggies.

01cSoupTomatoPastebfLOHere’s the original recipe, followed by my changes. You do what you want.

•3 lb ground beef
•1-1/2 cup chopped onion
•1/2 cup chopped green pepper
•2 tbsp garlic powder
•2 (12 oz) cans tomato paste
•2 cans tomato soup
•4 tbsp sugar
•1 heaping tsp Parmesan cheese
•2-1/2 tsp salt
•2 tsp Accent
•2 cups water

01aOnionPeppersbfLOAs I made it:
•1 lb ground beef
•1 lb ground pork
•4 cups diced yellow onion
•3 sweet peppers (1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow), diced – about 3 cups
•2 tbsp garlic powder
•1 tsp dried oregano
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1 tsp dried basil
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 heaping tsp Parmesan cheese
•1 tsp seasoned salt
•1 tsp sea salt
•2 (12 oz) cans tomato paste
•2 cans tomato soup*
•2 cups water
•1 bay leaf
02cGrBeefPorkCookedbfLOAdditional Ingredients (after tasting):
•1 tbsp sugar
•1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/4 cup good red wine
•1/2 tsp salt
•1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
•Shaved BellaVitano cheese

03cOnionPepperSautedbfLO*Don’t like the idea of using canned tomato soup? Try this simple, delicious home made substitute and say so long to the little red can!

Brown the ground beef and pork in a large pan over medium high heat until cooked through and most of the cooking liquid has cooked off.

Transfer to a colander and set aside to drain.

04bSauceSeasoningsbfLOReturn the pan to the stove, add a drizzle of olive oil, then add the onion and peppers and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the peppers tender and cooked.

The original recipe cooked the beef with the veggies, then added the tomato paste, soup, and seasonings and cooked over low heat for an hour, stirring often.

I opted to use a slow cooker.

Combine the tomato soup, paste, and seasonings together in the slow cooker, then stir in a browned meat and sautéed veggies.

04cSauceFirstCookbfLONote: I was pleased with my finished sauce, but think I mebbe would’ve needed to tweak things a bit less if I’d been a bit more sparing with the garlic powder at this point. Start with two or three teaspoons, then cook a while and increase from there. Or, add fresh garlic to the onion and peppers when you sauté them.

Add a bay leaf, cover the slow cooker, and set it on low for three or four hours, stirring every hour or so.

05aSauceAddWinebfLOFollowing my belief that anything like this is better made a day ahead of time, I cooked and stirred, tasted, then stirred in the second tablespoon of sugar, tablespoon of Parmesan, black pepper, and the red pepper flakes, let the sauce cool and stashed it in the fridge overnight.

The next afternoon, I brought the sauce to room temperature and returned it to the slow cooker on low.

05bSauceAddCheesebfLOOnce it warmed up, I tasted it.

Better, but…

I added some nice red wine – I save any leftover (a rare occurrence around here) decent wine in the freezer in ice cube trays so that I don’t need to open a fresh bottle if I just need a bit and am not prepared to finish the bottle myself (also a rare occurrence around here) – two cubes did it, and some freshly shaved balsamic BellaVitano cheese.

06aSaucePastabfLOAnother hour or so slow cooking on low, and we were ready for dinner.


I had plenty of sauce for penne that evening, with enough leftovers to stash in the fridge or freezer for later…

like on leftover French bread, brushed with garlic and butter, lightly toasted, then topped with a bit of the sauce, some more cheese, and baked.

All in all, a nice sauce, and it came together with very little fuss – especially using the slow cooker. Try it and see if you don’t agree.

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