Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From ScratchThere are probably as many homemade spaghetti sauce recipes as there are those who are eating it. I’m not going to be an Italian Snob (though I am one), and tell you that there is only one right way to make it. There are obviously a few hundred thousand of us Italians or so whom have had  handed down to us homemade spaghetti sauce recipes from our great Grandmas from Italy. Over the generations, perhaps we have experimented with them, tweaked them a tad or mated them with the recipes of other Italian relatives.  The recipe is a still a homemade spaghetti sauce from scratch, isn’t it? There are probably thousands, if not over a million spaghetti sauce recipes – more than there were Italian families in the old country at one time! Since this is a review website, why not share my own one-in-a-million homemade spaghetti sauce recipes.

Making Homemade Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch

A purist might say that nothing from scratch comes in a can, including tomato sauce. I find that a bit too restrictive. The key to a good homemade spaghetti sauce is that it is cooked and simmered with savory meat for several hours. To me, from scratch means that we are not using any other pre-cooked sauces, frozen meatballs, etc.. We do the seasoning and cooking ourselves. Now, if you want to take a few dozen tomatoes and crush them into a sauce all by yourself, be my guest. To me, a homemade spaghetti sauce starts with a couple of big, 28oz cans of Tomato Sauce/Puree; one can tomato paste and one can crushed tomato. Obviously, you’ll want to adjust this quantity for number of people. The three large cans of sauce with one small can of tomato paste should serve about 6-8 people (or 3 hungry Italians).  I mix all the sauce together with a cup and half of wine and 1 and 1/2 of the large cans filled with water. It may seem thin and runny at first, but remember – we’re going to cook it all day long so it has plenty of time to thicken. Don’t freak out over how runny or thick the sauce is – use your own judgment. Remember, that the sauce can be thinned with more water or wine or thickened simply by continuing to simmer it with the lid off.  I may not insist on fresh tomatoes, but I do love fresh garlic. Put about 6 fresh, garlic cloves into the sauce and don’t worry about chopping them up, the cooking will take care of extracting their flavor. The non essential seasonings can be added according to personal taste. I add about a tablespoon of basil, two tablespoons of parsley a half teaspoon of oregano and a Bay Leaf. But whose to say if I’m going to always do it that exact same way every time? You can also Salt and pepper the sauce to taste, but you’ll want it to cook for a couple of hours before you begin tasting it.  Now, that you’ve got your sauce started on the stove, it’s time to add the essential ingredients: Meat. I don’t care if you use, Stew Meat, Italian Sausage, German Sausage or Meatballs, after cooking in the sauce all day, it will taste great! I highly recommend Meatballs and Italian sausage, both, for starters.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Meatballs Recipe

Making homemade meatballs for spaghetti sauce is messy, but fun – and the result is the best aroma and smell in the world. Remember, Italian meatballs, should taste like Italian meatballs, not hamburger meat, so you need some fillers. For about a 1lb of hamburger meat, I use 1 cup of roman cheese and 1 cup bread crumbs. For seasoning, I add about a tablespoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of basil, 1 teaspoon oregano; 1 tablespoon garlic power, a little paprika and one minced, yellow or white onion. Mix up all of the dry ingredients together in a big mixing bowl. Beat 2 eggs in a glass with a tablespoon of milk, tablespoon of wine, teaspoon of olive oil. Optional: Add about a teaspoon of anchovy paste to the egg mixture for added salt and flavor. Now, simply add the hamburger meat, onions and egg-mixture to the bowl and thoroughly mix it all in with your “clean” hands. When the meat is thoroughly mixed, you can begin to make meatballs with your cupped hands. The size of the meatball is optional, but homemade Italian spaghetti sauce usually means large meatballs. Use your own discretion and adjust for number of people being served. Once the meatballs are made, brown them in a pan of olive oil. Important: Be careful – the meatballs will be very delicate until they are browned on all sides. When the meatballs are browned on all sides, add them to the sauce, then add your Italian Sauce and/or Stew Meat; brown them then add them to the sauce.

Finishing Your Homemade Italian Spaghetti Sauce

Here is a special tip: Don’t dump out the drippings. Add a half cup of wine, vodka or both along with a couple of ladles full of the tomato sauce to the drippings and let the heat of the pan turn it into a nice brown gravy; then add to sauce.  To finish making homemade spaghetti sauce from scratch, you need only one more thing: Time. A good homemade spaghetti sauce requires a minimum of 4 hours cooking time. For best results get the sauce started by 10AM for a 7PM dinner. Make sure the sauce simmers gently as to not burn the meat to the bottom of the pan. Stainless steel cookware is notorious for burning sauce and meatballs, so keep an eye on the sauce; stir gently and frequently; use or remove lid depending on how thick you want the sauce. I know that some people like a really thick sauce like a gravy, but I think most Italians prefer the sauce to be a little juicier. Remember, when the sauce is juicy, it is doing a better job of cooking and extracting the flavors of the meat. However you like it will be handed down as another one in a million scratch homemade sauce recipes.

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Starbucks Tassimo

I Love Starbucks Tassimo
Verona T Discs

I love Starbucks coffee and I won’t apologize for admitting it. I am also not too proud to say their T-Discs are the best. Sadly, I won’t be saying that much longer since Starbucks has abandoned their relationship with the Tassimo Single Cup Brewing system several months ago.  This is a huge loss for Tassimo and fans of Starbucks coffee who own Tassimo Single-Cup Brewers. Drinking a cup of Starbucks Tassimo coffee at home is every bit as good as getting one of those piping hot cups of black coffee handed over the counter to you from your local Starbucks store, minus the heat sleeve. Countless times, I have tried other coffee roasts hoping to find a cheaper alternative to Starbucks and countless times I found myself going back to the Starbucks coffee shops and buying the big 2lb bags of Starbucks roasted coffee at my local Costco store. Nothing else measures up to Starbucks, so it is no surprise that nothing else measures up to my love for their Tassimo, either.

When I tried to convince myself that life without Starbucks Tassimo would work out okay, I was in for a rude awakening. The Tassimo marketing folks have really dropped the ball, here. There just isn’t a suitable replacement for their brewers that tastes even remotely as good as Starbucks T Discs. Unfortunately, there are so few choices at the local retailers. Tassimo searches in Google pull up gobs of information and sales on Gevalia Tassimo T Discs which about as bland and flavorless as the gourmet coffee I used to drink prior to my love affair with Starbucks. Maxwell House is okay – maybe even better than Gevalia, but doesn’t come close to Starbucks. There are some other T discs which cannot be found in retailers and are even a bit of a challenge to find online such as Carte Noire and Kenco. Hopefully, I will get the chance to try them and review them and compare them to Starbucks at a later time. For now, I love Starbucks and want to buy up as much of the remaining inventory that I can get my coffee stained hands on.

Where to Buy

Starbucks Tassimo T DIscKnowing that JC Penneys at one time carried Starbucks for Tassimo. I went to my local mall which is being demolished. (except for Sears and Penneys). Much to my pleasant surprise there was an assortment of Starbucks Tassimo Coffee which was marked down from $16.99 to $10.99 for 12 Pack T Discs. There were even three varieties: Melange Maison, Columbia and Verona.  I grabbed as many packages of Starbucks T-Discs that would fit into my arms and feeling like I still didn’t get enough. How long do Tassimo T Discs last, I wondered?  I explained to the cashier why I was buying so many: “I love these T-discs and they don’t make them anymore”, I told her.  She was no fool and mentioned that she regretted buying a Keurig when she tasted how good the Starbucks for the Tassimo tasted. Then she said with a teasing little smirk that she no longer has to regret that decision. There an infinite number of Keurig Coffee flavors at the retailers and though they aren’t as good as Starbucks Coffee, they are significantly better than Gevalia and Maxwell House. I came home and immediately brewed a cup of the Melange Maison which I had never tried before. It was delicious, but so was the Verona and Columbia that I had this morning. Of all my favorites, I think I love the Starbucks Tassimo Columbia flavor the best. There is also a very popular, highly rated Tassimo T Disc flavor that can only be found online, called African Kitamu which I have never tried. If you’re looking for Tassimo Starbuck T-Discs online, there is still time to find all of these different flavors – and none of them will disappoint.

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