June 30, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday Recipe – Schill Family Spaghetti Sauce

My goodness, it's certainly been a while since the last time I was able to share a recipe here on Chronically Vintage with all of you. While my (personal) diet hasn't exactly been putting the menus at five star restaurants to shame lately (ahh, the joys of being ill ;P), that doesn't mean that notions of of food haven't been dancing through my head. In fact, I find that the blander - or less diverse - my day-to-day eats become, the more I start daydreaming about treasured favourite dishes, exciting recipes I'm eager to true, and delicious thoughts of food in general.

Few recipes in the whole world conjure up such instantaneous memories of childhood suppers as this hearty, robust pasta sauce does for me. Oh how, I used to adore it when my mom would make a giant pot of this marvellously tasty spaghetti and meat sauce, the scent of green peppers, onions and tomatoes simmering away together into an almost magical final product that nourished our bodies and souls alike.

{Though four different varieties of tomato products are called upon in this dish to help give it its rich flavour, you don’t quite need a full shopping cart of tomato sauce – unless you want to serve a very large crowd, for which this recipe would be perfect as it multiples wonderfully well. Vintage Hunts Tomato Sauce advertisement via Shelf Life Taste Test’s Flickr stream.}

Though my mom’s family isn’t Italian at all, this recipe is one that’s been developed and handed down through the generations, residing now in my cookbook (and still routinely made by other family members as well). It’s a dish that I feel needs little to no adaptation (and given my penchant for playing around with recipes, that really says a lot).

Aside from the fact I often make this with ground chicken or turkey instead of beef (or forgo the meat entire and toss in large quantities of vegetables), there is nothing that I do to tweak this scrumptious recipe. It is perfect to me exactly as it – but, should you try it out for yourself, please feel free to edit it however you wish (that’s so much of the fun of cooking after all!).

Wonderful Wednesday Recipe – Schill Family Spaghetti Sauce


•2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or other mild flavoured cooking oil)

•1 very large (or two small) green bell peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

•1 medium sized white or yellow onion, finely chopped

•1 1/2 cups sliced or chopped fresh button mushrooms

•2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or crushed)

•1 can (28oz/800g) can tomato sauce (or equal quantities of tomato sauce or pasatta di pomodoro)

•1 can (28oz/800g) diced tomatoes (or whole/sliced tomatoes that you dice up yourself)

•1 can (6oz/170g) tomato paste

•1/3 cup tomato ketchup

•1 ½ to 2lbs (680 to 910 grams) lean ground (minced) beef, well browned and drained of excess fat (lean ground turkey, chicken, veal or pork can be used instead, if desired)

•1/2 cup strong beef stock (homemade or good quality store bought; use vegetable or chicken stock if using ground chicken or turkey)

•2tbsp white sugar (optional, but I feel it does a marvellous job of cutting through the acidic bite of all the tomato products used in this recipe)

•Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper (both to taste)


In a large, heavy bottomed pot (or Dutch oven), warm the olive oil over medium heat and add in the vegetables (except for the garlic). Sauté for a few minutes, stirring often, until the onions have turned translucent, then add in the garlic and cook for about one minute. Add in all of the other ingredients and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Cover the pot and cook the spaghetti sauce for at least 1 1/2 hours, stirring from time-to-time, to ensure it doesn’t begin to stick to the bottom of the pot. You’re aiming for a moist, but no soupy, sauce, so continue cooking further if you think the sauce has yet to thicken up enough (I’ve often simmered this sauce for four or five hours over low heat, and in fact try to do so when time permits, as I find the longer cooking time really helps to intensify the flavours).

Taste sauce to check for seasonings and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Remove pot from heat and let the sauce stand for ten minutes before ladling it over spaghetti (or any other pasta), a heaping bowl of freshly grated parmesan accompanying it to the table.

Leftovers will keep for at least four days in the fridge, and can also be frozen (this sauce freezes like a dream) for at no less than three months in a freezer-safe container.

This hearty sauce is truly a meal in itself, but should you wish to accompany your heaping plate of pasta with something else, a light green salad or some steamed veggies (like string beans or zucchini circles dressed with a little olive oil and sea salt) makes a lovely accompaniment.

Serves 4 to 6 people (at least)

Bon appétit!


  1. Sounds pretty good. Spaghetti is one of the few recipes passed down in my family as well.

    Hope you are feeling much better!

    Best Wishes,

  2. Mmm I love spaghetti, simple yet so delicious!

    I hope you are feeling much better dear Jessica xx

  3. Congratulations on this scrumptious post!!!

  4. I hope you're feeling a bit better these days!

    I am on a quest to find the perfect go-to spaghetti sauce recipe, so I will definitely try this soon. It sounds delicious!

  5. This sounds wonderful! As we just were given a huge amount of sausage, I'm thinking I may have to make some sausage sauce :) Mmmm... thank you for sharing!

    I hope you're feeling better! It's good to see you back in blog-land :)