Sunday, January 3, 2016

Fiesta Spaghetti

My mom was so gracious to take my kids for a sleepover on New Year's Eve.  My husband and I went to a little Italian place close to our house called Gabriella's.  We were standing there waiting to be seated, and I was freezing since we just came in from outside and it was so cold!  I saw their brick oven in the back and told my husband that if he gave me a dollar, I would go stick my hands by the fire in the kitchen to warm up.  He just chuckled, but the guy next to me said that he'd give me a dollar.  Luckily, he got seated so I didn't have to get kicked out of the restaurant before getting to eat.  We got seated shortly thereafter, and that same guy came over and put a dollar bill on my menu!  I wouldn't keep it from him, but it did make me laugh.

The food at this place is great!  I got their vegetable pizza that first time, and it was amazing.  This time around, I got the fiesta spaghetti.  It's basically a meat sauce loaded with vegetables.  It was delicious.  The flavor of the sauce was fantastic.  I wanted to recreate it at home, and this is my best shot.  It was pretty darn close!  I loved the extra vegetables and extra meat in the sauce.  Also, don't be shy about adding the red pepper flakes!  I put it in all my red sauces because it gives it just a little kick.  It's so good.  At the restaurant, there was also some chicken strips in the sauce, but I just did the pepperoni and hamburger.  I noted all my modifications to the regular recipe.  Enjoy!  This may be my new favorite pasta sauce.  The flavor was outstanding!

Source: Modified from Taste of Home Italian Favorites pg. 68

1 lb. ground beef (90% fat)
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper pepper, diced (not in original recipe)
1/2 c. sliced olives (not in original recipe)
1 cans (14 oz each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained, pureed (the original recipe just used 2 cans of diced)
1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 c. reduced sodium beef broth
1/4 c. red wine (not in original recipe)
15 pepperonis, halved (not in original recipe)
2 T dried parsley
1 T brown sugar
1 t dried basil
1 t oregano
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes (not in original recipe)
1/4 t fennel seeds (not in original recipe)

In a large skillet, add ground beef, mushrooms, onion, and red pepper.  Saute until beef is no longer pink.  Drain fat.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for two hours.  You can also transfer it to a slow cooker, if you'd like.  The longer you simmer, the better the flavor becomes!

Serve over whatever pasta you like.  I used thin spaghetti.

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