Saturday, December 29, 2012

Recipe: Madelyn's "Spaghetti Genovese"

This is not the traditional pasta dish from Genoa, Italy, which includes spaghetti, potatoes, green beans, and pesto. Rather, it is a rich and hearty meat sauce, but I will the keep the name that was used when it was given to me, wrong though it may be. It is based on a recipe we received from Madelyn Yaeger who worked with Diane at House of Fabrics in Sunnyvale in the early 1980s. We got this recipe from her in April 2002 when she was 86 years old after our original copy became illegible from much use. Madelyn got this recipe "... from my son who got it from one of the engineers that worked with him at Seagate. I do not recall the man's name but I understand it was a family recipe." Prepared for dinner on December 23, 2012.


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions
1 head of garlic
1 bell pepper
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1½ teaspoons dry oregano
1½–2 pounds ground beef
½ pound ground pork
½–1 pound Italian sausage
2 28-ounce cans tomato sauce
½ cup full-bodied red wine
2 bay leaves
1–4 cups sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper


  1. Peel and dice the onions.
  2. Peel the garlic and crush it with a garlic press.
  3. Remove the stem, ribs, and seeds from the bell pepper and dice.
  4. Heat oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot (the taller the better) until shimmering. Add onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent.
  5. Add the garlic, parsley, and oregano and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.
  6. Remove the sausage from its casing and break into small pieces.
  7. Add meats and cook until medium rare, breaking them up with a spoon.
  8. Now for the secret! Add tomato sauce and cook on high, stirring constantly, until the sauce browns, about 10 minutes. This makes a mess; you might want to surround your pot with paper towels, being careful not to get them too close to the burner, to make clean up easier. Also, wear an old oven glove on your stirring hand to protect it from hot splatters.
  9. Turn heat to low; add wine, mushrooms, and bay leaves.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Simmer for 8 to 10 hours.
  12. Serve over spaghetti, topping with Parmesan or Romano cheese.
Assemble the ingredients, peel and slice the onions, dice the pepper, and crush the garlic.

Cook the onion and pepper in olive oil.

Add garlic, parsley, and oregano.

Add meat and cook until medium rare.

Add tomato sauce and boil for 10 minutes.

Add wine, mushrooms, and bay leaves.

Simmer 8-10 hours.

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