I liked this recipe, but it was nothing special, other then I made it one dish, so there was little mess to clean up. If I cook, I don't have to do dishes, so it really doesn't matter that much to me, but I am sure my man liked it. The recipe I used is actually pretty much how I make my spaghetti sauce, so it was pretty easy for me to make, as I have made it hundreds of times. Spaghetti sauce is one of the first meals my mother ever taught me to make. My mother made sure I learned to cook at a young age and growing up, I was always responsible to cook 1 meal a week. As I got older, I made most of the meals since I would get home from work first. Spaghetti is also one of my sons all time favorite meals, so it is made very frequently in my house. Plus, I make big batches, so I can freeze the sauce to make quick meals on busy days. I used penne this time because it is also one of my daughters favourite foods and penne is easy for her to pick up to eat. The only thing that is different from this recipe to my own, is that I added water so the pasta could cook in the sauce.
All in all, everyone liked it and it was very tasty.
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 jar of tomato sauce (I think I used garlic and herb flavor) + 1 cup of water (add more or less depending on how much pasta you use, I use almost a full box)
3 cloves of garlic
1 lb ground beef
Red Pepper flakes (optional). I didn't use too much as my 11 month old would be eating it)
Basil (I used 2 frozen cubes)
1/2 tsp or oregano
1/2 tsp parsley
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of other favorite cheese of choice (I used left over Tex Mex from my Baked Chicken Taquitos earlier this week)
1 package of whole wheat Penne pasta
1. Prep veggies and then set a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and start to brown. I add the garlic, red pepper flakes, peppers and onions when the beef is half way cooked (I like my veggies a little crunchy, so I add them closer to the end). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is completely browned.
2. Add the Penne to the pan, but do not stir - just let them sit on top of the veggie/meat mixture.
3. Pour the tomato/water mixture and the tomato sauce over the noodles (again, don't stir). Add more salt/pepper, basil, oregano and pasrley.
4, Cover the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, now stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender. I found it took about 30 minutes or so for the Penne. While it simmers, I grated the Parmesan cheese.
**I just want to go on a slight tangent regarding this pot. My man bought it at Costco and it is the Kirkland brand. I gave him a hard time when he bought it because it was big and heavy and we had a tiny kitchen without a lot of storage space....AND he has a Costco shopping problem, but that is another story...I digress. Anyway, I LOVE this pot. It is an enameled cast iron pot that can be used on the stove top and in the oven. It is a perfect size for most sauces or soups that I make. I use it frequently and I would say it is a MUST HAVE ITEM in my kitchen. I totally ate my words for giving my Costco loving man a hard time**
5. Turn the heat down low and stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, let it melt.
6. Add the other cheese, turn off the heat, then cover and let stand for about 5 minutes to allow the cheese to soften.