Monday, February 18, 2013

Spaghetti Sauce in the slow cooker

My husband loves spaghetti. How much? Well, while he was in the hospital, I made spaghetti a few times. I'd cook half of a 1-pound box and it would last me at least four meals. AT LEAST. And that's with plain tomato sauce - no meat.

I made that same amount of spaghetti along with a sauce that included 1 pound of meat. And I gotta tell ya - what I had left after one meal wasn't even a full serving. And I wasn't the one who ate the extra. This makes me VERY happy, because Bob needs to pack on some weight, and his stomach needs to stretch.

I'm doing the best I can stuffing him with food.

This sauce was perfect for a day when we had a few other things to do during the day. In the slow cooker, I didn't need to worry about stirring. I used a home made tomato sauce, but if you want to make this, you can certainly use canned sauce.

The giardiniera was purchased, and it's not a spicy version. The brands I buy are Greco or Vienna - I'm sure there are others.

Slow-Cooked Spaghetti Sauce

1 medium onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons Red & Green dried bell peppers (Penzey's)
1/2 teaspoon wild fennel seeds (from Marx Foods)
1 tablespoon Cantanzaro herbs (Savory Spice Shop)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup mild giardiniera
1 quart tomato sauce

If your slow cooker has a browning setting, you can do all of this in the slow cooker. Otherwise, you can brown the meat and cook the vegetables in a separate pot and add them to the slow cooker. I'll assume your crockpot has a browning setting.

Put the onion, garlic, beef, dried bell peppers, fennel seeds, Cantanzaro herbs, and oregano in the slow cooker. Cook until the beef is cooked through and the onions and garlic are softened. Stir as needed to break up the beef an keep from burning the onion and garlic.

Add the giardiniera and tomato sauce. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for four hours - or as long as you like - a little more or less isn't critical.

This makes enough for 1 pound of pasta. It freezes well if you don't use it all.