When I was growing up, I was not a fan of spaghetti dinner. I thought of it as a cop-out meal, like no one could put forth any effort so we just had spaghetti. Just had spaghetti, like an afterthought. Not something to look forward to.
But now, it’s different. We eat pasta at least once a week, and most of the time it’s some sort of spaghetti sauce. I love it, my family loves it — it’s our ultimate comfort food.
My mother-in-law makes the family definitive spaghetti. It is very involved, completely from scratch, and not at all like spaghetti in my mind. For one thing, it’s mostly meat and low on sauce. It is flavorful, delicious, and comforting, and not the way I make it.
This here is my spaghetti.
I stumbled into this recipe after doctoring up first one and then another recipe for tomato sauce. My daughter is now a raving fan of “that one time you did the sauce just perfectly,” so I’m writing out pretty much what I think I did right the last couple times to record it for posterity.
And for my own failing memory.
I call this “your way” because you’ll find there is a lot of room for customization. You know what flavors you like…and what’s on sale at the grocery. If you aren’t comfortable cooking without a recipe, maybe this will inspire you to take more risks and try new things not only with this recipe, but with others you find, as well!
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Your Way
- 2 lbs meat – ground beef, sausage, whole beef roast, pork roast, or chicken or combination of meat
- 2 jumbo cans of crushed tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- fresh or dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary)
- spoonful of sugar
- crushed red pepper, optional
- finely chopped carrot, optional
- finely chopped celery, optional
- splash red wine or balsamic vinegar, optional
Place meat raw in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours or LOW 8 hours.
If cooking ground beef and/or sausage, open the lid once to break up the meat into smaller chunks.
If cooking whole roast, cook covered the entire time, then take out the roast at the end. Shred meat with two forks, then return it to the sauce and mix thoroughly.
Serve meat sauce over cooked pasta and enjoy!