Easy Chunky Italian Meat Sauce with Spaghetti and Poached Eggs
My family is composed of Italian food fanatics. Don’t get me wrong, Louisiana Gulf Coast Food is at the top of our list with Italian and we adore Mexican food and other ethnic dishes. However Italian dishes like Lasagna and spaghetti are the comfort foods most popular with us because we were raised in a large Italian family. When my children come to visit its Lasagna they want, then boiled crawfish if they are in season. I prefer to eat my main meal at lunch. If I eat heavy at night my food doesn’t have enough time to digest and goes to bed with me to migrate to my stomach and hips. I also think I am my most creative early in the day when my hunger is at its peak. Lunch becomes our main meal and spaghetti is one of our favs, easy to create with a chunk of left over roast beef or pork instead of the usual ground meat, of course you can use ground meat if you have it on hand.
So, do you have a left over chunk of roast beef or pork? What an amazing array of quick meals can be thrown together for a delightful, but new to the taste buds treat. One half a can of this with a pinch of that and wallah, lunch is served. Today we had a luscious example of just that. With a minimum of effort we feasted on Chunky Red Sauce with Spaghetti and poached eggs, which I share with you now.
- 1 chunk left over roast beef or pork or 1 pound ground meat
- 1 small onion
- A few fresh mushrooms or a small can of mushrooms
- Olive oil
- 1 16 – 28-ounce can tomato sauce or small can tomato paste
- 1 small can sliced black olives
- 14 ounces chicken stock
- 4 cups hot water
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 small white or red potato, optional
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 4 or more raw eggs
- Raw spaghetti
Begin by cutting your hunk of roasted beef (or pork) in bite size cubes and set aside. Next, slice or chop one small onion, rough cut a few fresh mushrooms if you have them, or open and drain a can of mushrooms.
Saute your onions and mushrooms with a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan or large deep skillet. When the onions become tender or translucent stir in the paste, if using paste, and allow it to simmer with the seasonings for about two minutes stirring constantly. Add stock, plus at least 4 cups hot water. If using sauce, add your sauce, garlic, stock and hot water.
Bring to a gentle boil. Add meat chunks. Season sauce to taste, with salt and pepper. Go easy on salt, you can always add more later. Bring back to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer for at least ½ hour then add potato and/or parsley and season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer another ½ hour.
NOTE: NEVER put sugar in your sauce. If you have a white or red potato, cut it in chunks and add to sauce the last 30 minutes. That will take care of the acid in the sauce. You want the potato to only cook until tender, not to fall apart in the sauce. Sugar distorts the authentic Italian flavor. If you don’t have potato, add a handful of minced parsley, that will help also. Parsley is an old home remedy for stomach aches so it is good for you in everything, plus it sweetens the breath.
After an hour, check the thickness of the sauce and the tenderness of the meat. If the sauce is watery allow it to lightly boil until thick, stirring frequently and watching it carefully so it doesn’t stick or burn. When it is thickened, season again with salt and pepper as necessary. Take a cup of sauce and add to a small sauce pan that has been sprayed with oil. Add one cup of water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Crack fresh raw eggs, one at a time into the diluted sauce providing at least one per person plus a couple of extras for those who really love eggs. Put a lid on saucepan and allow eggs to cook gently for about 15 minutes. DO NOT allow sauce to boil or eggs will come apart and be a mess. After eggs are cooked to a hard yolk stage turn off burner and let them sit in their sauce until ready to serve.
While eggs cook, boil your spaghetti in a large pot of water according to package directions. I like to add a little sauce. You can use the sauce from eggs or the meat, to the drained spaghetti to keep it from sticking together, or you can serve it plain with a little butter stirred in.
To serve, top each serving of cooked spaghetti with a generous cup of meat, sauce and an egg and accompany with a green salad and crunchy bread on the side. It’s just that easy to prepare a delicious and authentically Italian lunch. No restaurant is going to match this.
My family loves dishes like this and never feels like they are having left over’s because of the total transformation. You can also prepare this recipe for dinner if you prefer. If you don’t have dry roasted meat you can use meat from pot roast rinsed to remove its pot roast flavor. When using ground meat be sure to brown it with the seasonings.
This is a simple guide to fixing true Italian meat sauce. My grandmother was very frugal, as were all homemakers of her time, and used every bit of everything available (nothing was thrown away) to prepare meals. My whole family sincerely believes tomato gravy is better the second time around after the flavors have had a chance to blend, so don’t hesitate to make a large amount and freeze some or serve again at another meal. I always cook in quantity so I don’t have to cook so often. Enjoy!
I invite you to give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. In the meantime, ya’ll have yourself a down home delicious Easter Holiday and be safe.