I'm not Italian. I just play one in my marriage.
And I've often thought that the recipe for my mom's meat sauce would make my Italian mother-in-law's hair stand on end. There's something about the ingredients for this sauce that lacks authenticity, but the end result is really really really good. Even my mother-in-law thinks so (though I've never actually told her how it is made). I've served this sauce, in fact, to countless members of my husband's family and never once has anyone labeled me a fraud.
Here's what you need:
2 pounds of chopped meat (you can use all beef or all pork, or a combination of beef, pork and veal)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 large can of tomato juice (see? not an authentic ingredient)
1 large can of tomato puree
1 large packet of spaghetti sauce seasoning mix (again, not authentic)
3 heaping tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
1 generous teaspoon each of dried basil, and dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil, then add the chopped meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, stirring often.
Pour in the tomato juice and the tomato puree, mix well. Add the seasonings: basil, oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper, seasoning packet and then stir in the parmesan cheese.
Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. The beauty of this sauce is that it almost doesn't matter how long you let it simmer. If 30 minutes turns into an hour, no problem. If you only have 20 minutes to get dinner on the table, no problem.
Spoon over hot pasta, sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and you're done.
I admit to enjoying this sauce so much that I will very often eat it out of a mug with a spoon. So, again, in the most inauthentic way, I guess the pasta could be considered optional. ;-)