Monday, June 1, 2009

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

One of the nice things about living in Nashville is that it's kind of in the middle of everything. So it's easy for the friends from Houston who are driving back to the East Coast to stop, have a meal, or stay the night. This has happened several times this month as friends graduate and go home for the summer. When one of my very good friends was planning on staying the night, I knew that she would arrive at my house before I would, so I prepped this delicious sauce and let it simmer in the slow-cooker all day long while I was at work. I don't know why I never thought of this before since it makes so much sense.

I used Melissa's sauce but simply cooked the ground beef and added it to the sauce instead of making meatballs. I would estimate that the sauce makes about enough sauce for two pounds of pasta. I froze the leftovers which came in handy for Joe's dinner when I was out of town. All of the vegetables cook down and meld into the sauce completely so that you can hardly even tell that they're there. This is a great sauce for sneaking lots of delicious and nutritious vegetables into.

All-Day Tomato Sauce with Beef
source: Mrs. Sac's Purple Kitchen

1 lb ground beef
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 cups Baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
28 oz crushed tomatoes
28 oz tomato puree
about 1/2 cup water
14.5 oz diced tomatoes with juices
1.5 tsp kosher salt or to taste
1 tsp freshly ground pepper or to taste
2 tsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1.5 tsp dried oregano
splash of red wine
1 tbsp EVOO (more if necessary)
1-3 cup fresh basil, torn, plus more for garnish
Parmesan cheese


Cook beef in a skillet on medium-high heat until brown. Drain grease from beef and rinse. Put beef in crock pot.

Add all the tomatoes and water to the crock pot and set on high, cover.

In the same skillet as the beef was in, over medium heat add in a little more EVOO if necessary and add the celery, carrot and onions. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. De glaze the pan with a splash of wine and continue to cook veggies till softened.

Remove, add to crock pot, and add all remaining herbs and seasonings. Turn down to low, and cook for 7-8 hours, tasting a couple of times and adjusting seasonings if necessary and stir in basil with about 20 minutes left. Garnish with more fresh basil before serving. Serve with your favorite pasta shape.