Pasta and homemade meat sauce with spinach is my go to quick week night dinner. It’s got EVERYTHING! It’s got spinach, it’s got meat (sometimes ground beef, sometimes ground turkey and sometimes Italian sausage) it’s got tasty pasta and it’s all HOMEMADE!
I like to make my own pasta sauce, I find the most of the jarred sauces on the market much too sweet. I keep a couple of pounds of pasta in different shapes in my pantry along with a few cans of diced tomatoes. This makes pulling together dinner a breeze.
I start by browning a pound and a half of ground beef (or whatever meat you’re using) in a Dutch oven. Do this in batches if necessary so the meat browns well and doesn’t steam. Add in some chopped onion, 2 sliced garlic cloves, salt, pepper and oregano and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in two 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes with the juices and let this simmer for 15 minutes while you wait for your pasta water to boil. You can simmer the meat sauce for longer, even up to an hour. Just be sure to add water as necessary as the sauce cooks down.
Stir in a couple of hands full of fresh spinach leaves (frozen works here too, just add it earlier in the cooking to give it time to thaw and for the excess water to cook off ) and let them wilt in the hot sauce
Cook the pasta ( I used spaghetti but fettuccine or penne would also be great) about two minutes less than the package directions. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Let the pasta simmer in the sauce for 2-3 minutes, until the pasta has become tender. This marries the sauce to the pasta.
I usually make a double batch of meat sauce and use it for a quick dinner during the week. It’s great on top of a baked potato with melted cheddar cheese. I cook the potato in the microwave (prick it a few 6-7 times all over with a fork. Rub it each potato with about a 1/2 teaspoon of oil and cook for 5 minutes each side on high. If it’s not tender all the way through, cook the potato for a little longer).
Split the potato open, top with hot meat sauce with spinach and cheddar cheese. Now THAT”S a good meal.
Try this sauce on top of toast with mozzarella cheese for lunch or after school snack. You can’t go wrong.
- 1 pound of spaghetti, fettuccine or penne pasta
- 1 and ½ pounds of ground chuck beef, ground turkey or Italian sausage
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ cup diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- two 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
- ½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3-5 leaves of fresh basil (optional)
- fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring the pasta water to a boil
- While the water is heating, brown the beef, turkey or Italian sausage in a Dutch oven. Do this in batches to prevent the meat from steaming and turning gray
- Season the meat with salt, pepper and basil
- Stir in diced onion and cook for 5 minutes
- Stir in garlic cloves and cook for another minute
- Add canned tomatoes
- Add crushed red pepper flakes and basil if you're using them
- Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes ( you can simmer longer if you like, up to an hour. Add water to keep the sauce from drying out)
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta
- Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than recommended on the package
- Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Let the pasta simmer in the sauce for 2 -3 minutes
- Serve the pasta with fresh shaved Parmesan cheese.