If food was a hug, this meal, right here, would be IT. Forget chocolate. Don’t bother with cupcakes. I can think of no better way to tell someone you love them than with a plate piled high with whole wheat spaghetti and meaty tomato sauce.
Unless they’re a vegetarian. That would just be mean.
If you’re still looking for a meal to make your honey for Valentine’s Day (which just so happens to be a week from today!) I’ve got your answer right here. The fact that it makes your home smell amazing is a huge added bonus, too. And you can whip it up in less than 45 minutes when you get home from work. Oh, and it involves wine.
Of course it involves wine.
I’ve made this dish three times since I first discovered the Epicurious* recipe a few months ago. Each time it gets better and better and the last time I made it–on Super Bowl Sunday–I made a game-changing move. I nearly doubled the sauce, which not only improved the pasta to sauce to meat ratio (super important), but also extended the leftovers. In other words, it provided an additional dinner plus lunch for three days for one lucky guy.
To fancy things up for V-day, serve it with a simple arugula salad on the side and a brick of parmesan cheese that you can generously grate on top.
Happy Love Day! Consider this meal a hug from me to you : )
*If you prefer a higher meat to sauce ratio follow the Epicurious recipe. For more sauce, follow mine below!
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
16 oz whole wheat spaghetti
1-1 1/4 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional – I usually leave it out if I don’t already have it in the fridge)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (FYI – this isn’t in the Epicurious recipe and I highly recommend adding)
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained, chopped into chunks
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine (such as merlot)
Cook spaghetti according to package directions, drain and set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef. Cook until brown, using a wooden spoon to break it up, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl. To the skillet, add onion and garlic. Saute until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add parsley (if using), crumble basil between your hands and add to skillet, repeat with oregano, and add paprika. Continue cooking about 1 minute. Return beef to skillet. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and wine. Turn down heat to medium or low, simmering until sauce thickens slightly, about 30-40 minutes.
To serve, place pasta on plate, top with sauce, add Parmesan as desired.