Have you ever seen the Andy Griffith episode where Andy ends up eating spaghetti in three different homes one evening due to a scheduling mishap and he is told that the secret ingredient to good spaghetti is an Italian herb called oregano? Well, I can remember when our family first began eating "Italian" food.
When I was in fourth grade I spent the night with a friend, Laura B., and she and I made pizza using a Chef Boyardee pizza mix. All the ingredients came in a box--the crust mix, a can of sauce, and a little can of parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top. You were encouraged to add more toppings if you desired. We ate this pizza (and enjoyed it!) for several years.
A few years later my sister's boyfriend's mother, Mrs. H., gave my mother a recipe called "Italian Spaghetti Sauce." My mom made it frequently after that and it became a family favorite. I've been trying to use up some of my pantry and freezer staples recently, so I made it and we enjoyed it over some spaghetti squash. It does make a good sauce, so here's the recipe in case you want to try it:
Italian Spaghetti Sauce
1 1/2 lbs. hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
chopped green pepper if desired
2 cans tomato paste (rinse half full of water and add to kettle)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 large pinch oregano and basil
1 bay leaf
dash each marjoram and thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Brown ground beef. Drain grease if any accumulates. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally for 2-3 hours. If sauce seems too thick add water. This should serve about six hungry people.