I’m not even going to pretend that this is healthy OR good for you. It’s neither. It IS, however, good for your soul. Meaning, after you eat it, you will be in a euphoric state. And probably in a food coma as well. My dad and I spent an entire afternoon piecing this little masterpiece together. Ok, well, it was more like he was in his office yelling things like “DON’T FORGET THE GARLIC” and “NOW THE MEAT!” while I was in the kitchen fumbling around like an idiot. Then the Cowboy game started and I was on my own from there.
Let’s talk about this sauce for a minute. It’s super meaty and hearty and delicious. It’s perfect for lasagnas and spaghetti’s and.. well.. baked shells. I do worry a little about something though. I feel like if I tell you how to make the most delicious meaty spaghetti sauce, then you’ll have the one recipe you’ve ever really needed and you’ll never come back. You have to promise to come back, ok?
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “I need to leave work RIGHT NOW and make this” and you would be right. You should drop everything you’re doing right this very second and make this dish. Why? Because it’s a cure all. Headache? Instant cure. Heartache? No problem. Crossed eyes? Ok, I can’t help you there. You should probably see an eye doctor.
I will admit, like any healthy relationship, this thing takes some work and commitment. It’s worth it in the end though.
- FOR THE MEATY SPAGHETTI SAUCE
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage
- 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 15 oz cup of water
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 2 beef bullion cubes
- 1 tbs oregano
- 1 tbs basil
- 1½ tsp thyme
- 2 day leaves
- 1 tsp sugar
- pinch of cinnamon
- FOR THE SHELLS
- 24 jumbo shells
- 1 15 oz container of whole ricotta cheese
- ½ c Parmesan cheese
- 1½ cups mozzarella cheese (divided)
- 2 eggs
- salt, pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onions and celery. Cook 2 minutes. Add garlic. Cook 2 more minutes.
- Add ground beef and sausage. Brown and remove some, but not all, of the fat. Leave about half.
- Add the next 10 ingredients (tomato sauce through cinnamon) and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Sauce should be very thick.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- While sauce is simmering, cook the jumbo shells according to package instructions (9 mins for me)
- While shells are cooking, in a bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan cheese, ½ cup mozzarella, eggs, salt and pepper. Combine well.
- Once the shells are done cooking strain and run cold water over them
- Once cool, stuff each shell with about a tablespoon (maybe a little more) of the ricotta mixture. Don't over-stuff. Set aside until tomato sauce is done simmering.
- After the sauce has simmered a while, pour about 1 cup in the bottom of a 9.5" x 11" baking dish. Place shells on top. Top with the rest of the sauce (or until the shells are thoroughly covered) Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes.
- Serve with crusty bread