Spaghetti for Supper

I only make spaghetti once a month, but for the past three months I had been working on making it the best I could make. I am by no means an expert or a chef, but I look at cooking like art. Art you consume. I put all the ingredients I know or think I will need on the counter, because it’s so much easier to grab as I cook rather than hunt when I think of it.

The water was coming to a boil so I dropped the broken spaghetti in the pot. Youngest likes it long because he can then swirl it, but I can’t stand the slurping sound. As a compromise I only break it once. Though it needs an occasional stir as it cooks, I can ignore that pot for a while.

I turn my attention to the skillet where the ground beef is starting to brown nicely. I always cook the meat first, and then put the onions in the pan. It seems to allow the meat to cook better, at least in my mind. Along with the chopped onions I make sure to add salt and pepper. I usually use ground pepper and sea or kosher salt in my cooking. I laugh because I try something once in a recipe and it seems to become a habit. My regular salt and pepper shakers aren’t even in the kitchen anymore. They have been banished to the dining table where they are never really used.

I check on the noodles and realize they are al dente which is where I need them to be at this stage. They have soaked up enough water to move, but they aren’t fully done yet. Draining the water out, I pour the meat and onion mixture over the noodles and also add one can each of tomato sauce, tomato paste, and petite diced tomatoes along with Italian seasonings, garlic powder, and tarragon.

Tarragon? I don’t even know which recipe introduced me to that herb, possibly an Herbed Butter, but I fell in love with the aroma and the taste. It doesn’t over power everything else, but it seems to go with whatever dish I add it to. I have also gone through a ginger and cilantro period as well. I guess I have a tendency to obsess over certain herbs.

Adding one sauce can of water to the entire mixture I stir everything well, including the meatballs I had in the freezer, cover the pan, and put it on low to cook for several hours. Yes, several hours. This is one of those recipes that allow me to sit and visit with hubby when he gets home. I do check on the spaghetti occasionally stirring and adding more water if it starts to get too dry, but the French bread and salad can be done in the last 15 minutes before the food goes on the table.

As we sit down to eat, the spaghetti noodles are fat and full of sauce but not drowned. Oldest takes his first bite and proclaims it to be the best spaghetti he has ever had. It may be the fact that he just got home famished after a hard day at work, or it may be that the third time is the charm.


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