I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a couple of months. It was born on a cold, rainy day when I had a few leftover odds and ends in the refrigerator that needed to be used up. Some of the best ideas are born that way, aren’t they?
We’ve made the sauce about twice a month since I came up with it, and it’s been a total game-changer. It’s cozy and satisfying without being too heavy, and the flavor is just magic. If I had an Italian nana, I’m pretty sure she’d be proud of this recipe.
It’s a fantastic combination of a few of my favorite sauces. I love the fresh basil, the rich texture, and the heartiness of the beef and mushrooms. The mushrooms are diced up so small that they visually disappear into the sauce. Michael, who is historically not a mushroom guy, LOVES this sauce and is one of the primary reasons we’ve had it so often lately. They really add a lot to the flavor, so I highly recommend you don’t skip them, at least the first time through.
Since I’ve had a few months of toying with this sauce, I’ve also discovered that it makes a great slow cooker meal. It frees up my day to have something going for dinner that requires no attention whatsoever from me, and it makes my house smell like heaven whether it simmers on the stove or bubbles away in the slow cooker.
You can serve this over spaghetti squash or over your favorite pasta (gluten free or wheat-based) for an incredibly cozy meal. Each batch feeds our family for two meals, so it also has the added benefit of putting a deposit in the dinner bank account for another day. In the time it takes to cook some pasta, I can have the leftover sauce thawed and ready to eat.
p.s. I absolutely love our slow cooker. It’s programmable and automatically switches to “warm” after the cook time is up, which means you don’t have to worry about over-cooking something if you stay late at work or errands take longer than usual.
Plus, it has lid clips. If there’s anything more awesome than a slow cooked meal, it’s one that doesn’t spill all over my car when I’m bringing it to a friend’s house or to a potluck. If you’re in the market, I highly recommend it.
p.s. Don’t love ground beef? Try this recipe made with a beef roast.