Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cheating Spaghetti Sauce

Ok, so the name of this dish is all you need to know. It's spaghetti sauce and it's "cheating" to make it. Mostly, because you don't make the sauce at all. I'm usually opposed to such things. I am, by nature, a "from scratch" sort of girl, but on occasion, I can utilize a great shortcut. Especially if it has sentimental value. My Grandma Burgos who is a fabulous cook used to make this sauce. Hers was the only red spaghetti sauce I loved growing up. Of course, back then I had no idea it came from a bottle and she just embellished it a little. Enhanced is probably a better word. You know this type of shortcut, it's the type of thing that makes Sandra Lee's "Semi-Homeade" so successful. I can't believe I even finished that last sentence since I hate, no...HATE Sandra Lee. She makes some pretty sick stuff, after all (fresh berries on steak with gravy? Carrot baby food in cake?--yak!)

My Grandma Burgos was my first example of a great cook. She mostly stuck to more simple fare (except for Christmas Eve's Danish goose) like grilled steaks (which my Grandpa grilled, so the only thing I can give her credit for is the seasoning, which by the way is perfect...lemon pepper and garlic salt) and pot roasts, perfect steamed zucchini from her garden, perfect steamed green beans, outrageous lasagna, great iceberg lettuce salad, Danish raspberry dessert and this spaghetti sauce. She was a rockstar with her all-clad cookware and William's Sonoma plates. I wanted to be just like her. I remember My Grandpa would come home from lunch and she would make him a perfect sandwich. Everything was neat and tidy with a thick slice of jack cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise with butter (gotta love the Dane's) and turkey or ham or salami on sheep hearders bread. It was perfect people, perfect, everything about it. I never knew back then that my appreciation of her lunches and dinners was developing a "foodie" in the making. I probably never told her. In fact I know I didn't. But I'm saying it now...Her cooking was in a word, special.

This sauce is a perfect shortcut on a busy night. I promise you, no one will ever know you used jarred sauce as a base, unless they ask you for the recipe, anyway. My Grandma always used ground beef as her meat of choice and it is very good that way, but I prefer sausage. Feel free to use the beef if you fancy it because the secret ingredient is the Lipton Onion Soup mix. All this sauce consists of is meat, sausage in this case, Classico jarred sauce, and Lipton Onion Soup mix. The picture shows me using the Classico Cabernet Marinara sauce but It's supposed to be the mushroom and (onion?) it's the mushroom and something-sauce. If you can find that, get it, otherwise the marinara works fine.

Cheating Spaghetti Sauce
adapted from Paula Burgos

1/2- to 1 lb. mild or sweet Italian sausage, depending on your preference (or ground beef)
1 jar Classico brand Mushroom and Olive (or Cabernet Marinara) spaghetti sauce
1 packet Lipton Onion Soup mix

Saute the sausage in a little olive oil over medium heat until cooked through. Add the spaghetti sauce and Lipton Onion Soup mix and bring up to a simmer and cook for at least 10 minutes until the flavor develops. Serve and toss with 1 lb. spaghetti.

Yield: enough sauce for 1 lb. spaghetti

If you prefer lots of sauce, you can add another half a jar without disrupting the recipe. The Italians prefer "just enough sauce", which is what this recipe provides. I love my Grandma Burgos!