Living on a farm, having an off-the-farm job, and being a mommy can be tiring! After working all day long and then picking up the boys from daycare, sometimes the last thing I feel like doing is going home and making dinner. But obviously we all need to eat and I like to feed the boys a healthy, well-balanced meal, so pasta is a go-to meal for me that is quick and easy to make and usually something that everyone really likes!
I do know that Hudson and Axten prefer Alfredo sauce to a red meat sauce, but they still liked this easy semi-homemade pasta sauce that I made for dinner the other night. We almost always have it with a side of green beans, maybe a side salad for the adults, and some garlic cheese bread.
The first time I made this sauce I was basically cleaning out my pantry. I came across a can of red clam sauce. I had no idea what else I would use it for so I decided to put it in the spaghetti sauce that night. My husband loved it! You couldn’t really taste the clams, but it did give it just a little more depth. This time around I didn’t have any more clam sauce, but I did have a bottle of clam juice. (Don’t ask me where this stuff comes from!) So that’s my “secret” ingredient now for red pasta meat sauce!
Easy Semi-Homemade Pasta Sauce with Rigatoni
1 pound lean ground beef or ground venison
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (15 ounces) can of tomato sauce
1 (24 ounces) can of pasta sauce (no added sugar)
2 (4 ounces) cans of mushrooms (no salt added)
1 pound rigatoni pasta (or any other kind of pasta)
2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
8 ounces bottle of clam juice
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. parmesan cheese (plus extra for garnish)
Red pepper flakes, optional
Brown the ground beef (or venison) in a large skillet with the onion and garlic.
Once the meat is completely brown add the tomato sauce, pasta sauce, mushrooms, brown sugar, clam juice, and dried herbs.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes (or longer if you have the time). I didn’t cover my skillet with a lid because I wanted it to thicken, but since it splattered a little I put a metal grease splatter screen on the top to keep it from making a mess all over my stove.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the rigatoni according to the directions on the package in a large pot. When the pasta sauce is thickened add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the parmesan cheese.
Drain the pasta and return it to the large pot.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix it all together. Serve with some additional parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for a little spice. Enjoy!
Read more from Sara on her blog, Sara’s House HD