We all have our comfort foods. My comfort foods involve refined sugars and processed carbs. I yearn for pizza, pasta, mac n’ cheese, and ice cream. Last week, stress got the better of me and I succumbed to my comfort food craving with Spaghetti and Meat Sauce. But, before I get to the recipe, I’ll share the news that is the source of my comfort food cravings – we’re moving.
Less than two years after our last cross-country move, we’re moving again– this time, across the pond, to Rabat, Morocco. If you’re a regular reader at eating in instead, you may have noticed that my dear husbander has been “abroad for work” recently. Truth be told, he moved a couple of months ago to get us settled into a new home in Rabat. In about 2 weeks, our cats and I will be joining Omar in the third largest city in the Kingdom of Morocco!
While I couldn’t be more excited about this new adventure (and new recipes!), packing, storing, selling, and sending are overwhelming my brain while color-coded dot stickers are creeping into my dreams. This, coupled with my anxiety over preparing our beloved cats, Beed and Capties, for the trans-Atlantic flight are enough to drive a girl onto an exclusive diet of carbs, ice cream, and chocolate. And, as if the logistics of our move weren’t enough, I’ve been emotionally preparing myself for the loss of my 120v kitchen appliances (oh, how I will miss thee, dear KitchenAid Mixer), trading in Fahrenheit baking temps for Celsius, and a world of new spices. Oh, did I mention that I don’t speak either of the primary languages in Morocco? Yeah, that too.
All this means that I’m certain more comfort foods will creep into my meals before our move. Even with all the stress of moving, I believe the saying that home is where the heart is. Beyond all the boxes and bubble wrap, for me this means home is with Omar in the kitchen of our new flat in Rabat.
SPAGHETTI AND MEAT SAUCE (serves 2-3)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground sausage
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup mushrooms, sliced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup dry red wine
1 28 oz. can of whole plum tomatoes, with juices
½ pound spaghetti
4-5 teaspoons of sea or kosher salt
½ cup fresh basil leaves, Julienne or roughly chopped
Empty the can of tomatoes with all juices into a large bowl. With clean hands, carefully squeeze the tomatoes and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, beef and sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium-heat until meat is browned. Drain the excess oil and set the meat and onions aside in a bowl. In the same saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic. Once the mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes, return the meat and onions to the saucepan. Add the red pepper flakes and oregano, and stir to combine. Cook for another 2 minutes, then deglaze with the red wine. Add the squeezed tomatoes with juices, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until sauce thickens.
While the sauce is simmering, bring about 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Salt generously with 3 teaspoons of kosher or sea salt. Add the pasta and stir. Remove the pasta 2-3 minutes before the time specified on the box and add the pasta directly into the meat sauce, allowing the pasta to finish cooking in the meat sauce and absorbing the sauce as it finishes.
Plate the pasta, top with fresh basil, and serve immediately.