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Canned spaghetti sauce has its many convenient advantages, but it cannot compare to homemade sauce with ground beef. Processed foods often contain chemicals and additives to preserve the food for long periods of time, and much of the rich flavor is lost during the processing of canned sauces. The meat in an exceptional homemade ground beef spaghetti sauce must be fresh and high grade with moderate fat content. Such a recipe should also include fresh ingredients and herbs. For best results, the sauce needs to mature, allowing the savory flavors of the ingredients to ripen together.
Generally, the best ground beef is ground chuck. This type contains more fat than ground sirloin and ground round. The fat gives the meat its tasty flavor. Ground beef is best cooked at low to medium heat, as this prevents the fat, and thus its flavor, from evaporating too quickly.
When cooking with beef, it is important to kill any residual pathogen or bacteria in the raw meat. The ground beef should be precooked well, though not overcooked. Juices from the beef should run clear, but the meat should never be allowed to dry out or burn. Chopped white onions, flavorful and sweet, should be tossed in with the frying beef, as caramelized onions add a succulent flavor to the sauce. After the meat is cooked, it should be lightly drained of excess fat.
The best tomatoes for ground beef spaghetti sauce are fresh tomatoes. While convenient, canned tomatoes lack the zesty tang of vine-ripened fruits. Roma, or plum, tomatoes provide the best flavor for sauces, as these tomatoes are thick and flavorful, not watery like their larger counterparts. Skins can be removed by boiling the tomatoes for a few minutes until the skins begin to peel. Once peeled, the entire tomato can be coarsely chopped and set to simmer in a pot of fresh beef broth, on low heat.
Fresh herbs and spices are incremental for scrumptious ground beef spaghetti sauce. Sweet basil leaves, lightly chopped, add sweetness and offset the acidic properties of the tomatoes. Fresh oregano, minced garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese provide a powerful potpourri that tingles the tongue as well as the nose.
Finally, a good ground beef spaghetti sauce needs some time to ripen. Many tomato-based foods benefit from some time in the refrigerator, as this allows the ingredients to fuse into a well-blended, savory composite. After 24 hours or so, the ground beef spaghetti sauce should be gently reheated and served with plates of steaming pasta. A garnish of parsley adds epicurean panache.
Drain, drain, drain. A greasy spaghetti sauce is just nasty. Line a colander with three paper towels, one on top of the other, and place the colander over a pie plate or other dish. Put the hot ground beef in the colander and press another paper towel over it to help the fat drain out. Also, wipe out the inside of the cooking pot so it won't be greasy either. Let the meat drain for at least five minutes before adding it back to the pot. You can even make up the rest of the sauce except for the meat and add it last.
The meat will still have plenty of fat for flavor, but there won't be that sheen on the surface, and your family will rave over your spaghetti sauce.
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