I have a favorite meat sauce that I’ve been making for a million years, but honestly, it takes a really long time to prepare it, nearly FOUR hours on the stovetop. This little puppy is the opposite. It’s about 30 minutes of active work time, and an hour simmering. Easy Peasy. Sometimes what I really need in life is simplicity. Don’t we all? This tastes great over pasta, but it’s also lovely over mashed or roasted potatoes.
Meat Sauce with Artichoke Tapenade (makes 8 servings)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onions, diced
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes
- One 15-oz can tomato sauce
- One 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
- One 10-oz jar artichoke/bell pepper tapenade (I’m partial to the tapenade sold at Trader Joe’s – but any brand will do)
- 1 teaspoon salt
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven. Sauté the onions, shallot and garlic over medium heat for 8 minutes. Add the dried red pepper flakes, the dried oregano and basil and sauté for two more minutes. Add the ground beef. Using the back of your spoon break up the ground beef and brown it until it is cooked through and no pink bits remain. If you’ve used higher fat ground beef, drain off the fat. Add the whole plum tomatoes with their sauce, the tomato sauce, the chopped tomatoes, the artichoke/bell pepper tapenade and the salt. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for one hour. Taste and add more salt or pepper if desired. Serve over pasta or potatoes.