Classic Meat Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried marjoram crumbled

1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon paprika

½ Montreal Steak Seasoning

½ teaspoon chili powder

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, chopped

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

¼ cup strong brewed coffee

2/3 cup dry red wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot but not shimmering. Add ground beef and cook until brown, breaking up with fork as you go, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add onion and garlic to skillet and sauté until onion is tender, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in fried parsley, dried herbs, paprika, steak seasoning, chili powder, and cayenne; continue cooking 1-2 more minutes. Push onion mixture to one side and drain off any grease that remains in the pan. Return the drained beef to the skillet. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, coffee and wine. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until sauce is thick, about 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  This can be made up to three days ahead, and really benefits from a night in the fridge.  When ready to use, bring to simmer to heat through.  Ladle sauce on top of your favorite pasta and pass the Parmesan cheese.