Who's up for Spaghetti?

by zesty on October 30, 2008 · 54 comments

Thursday is here which means that there’s only one more day until Halloween!  Welcome everybody to another silly episode of me trying to write something witty before we get to today’s recipe.  This recipe was inspired by my little guy who is 3 1/2 years old as he was asking if we could have space worms for dinner last night or AKA Spaghetti.  So of course I said yes, anything to get him from eating peanut butter sandwiches or chicken nuggets.

So with that being said, I tend to do my spaghetti sauce in two stages. First stage is to brown the meat and then use the pan drippings to move on to the vegetable and tomatoes.  If you have the time, which is not much longer than opening a can of your favorite spaghetti sauce, give this sauce a try.

My tomato sauce has been tweaked and modified over the years to try and come up with a unique and rich flavour to tantalize everyone’s taste buds. The basis of the sauce stems back to the no nonsense tomato sauce recipe.


  • 2 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. Lean Ground Beef
  • 1/2 lb Lean Ground Pork
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, crushed and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 to 1 cup diced, fresh basil. (It’s your call. I usually use close to a cup)
  • 1/2 cup red wine. (Good enough quality to drink)
  • 1 Tsp sugar (or Splenda)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes.
  • 1 t lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to the directions.
  2. Add meat and ginger to pan and cook until brown.  Drain excess fat and remove meat from pan.
  3. Leave the pan dirty with flavour from the meat and sauté onions in olive oil over low heat, covered, for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and basil, re-cover, for another 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add meat back in the pan.
  6. Uncover and add wine. Reduce by about half.
  7. Add tomatoes, S & P, and simmer for 15 minutes. You can reduce the sauce further and intensify the flavour.
  8. Add the lemon juice about 3-4 minutes before finishing.
  9. Fresh Italian Parsley can be added at the end if you like it.
  10. Serve over cooked spaghetti.
  11. Top with Parmesan Cheese.
  12. Enjoy!

Zesty Tip:  When cooking any type of pasta, make sure you salt the water very well.  If not the pasta will be flat and taste very bland.  Also when making sauces, it is an excellent idea when draining your pasta to add a little bit of the pasta water to your sauce.  This will give your sauce an extra layer of flavour.

As for the usual, I would like to know something! What is your favorite drink to serve with a big platter of spaghetti? Also I am trying to reach an individual goal for this post.  I have never had over 60 comments on any post yet in zesty land… so I am asking very politely (of course) for every reader of this post to write a quick little comment and let me know what you think of either the pasta, the site in general or what you drink when you eat spaghetti.  For me I am a big milk fan with my spaghetti!

Thanks everyone and have an awesome Thursday!


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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Megan

I LOVE spaghetti. My mom makes it every year for Christmas instead of turkey. This sauce recipe sounds delicious and I love the use of red wine. I don’t usually drink much with my meals…so I am not sure what pairs well with spaghetti! Yeah for space worms. I need to have some soon!


2 VeggieGirl

Hooray for spaghetti! :-)


3 coco

Great recipe and useful tips as always. my pasta tend to be flat and bland, now I know the reason. Thanks!


4 Jenny

Me Me Me! Your spaghetti looks sooooo yummy! I could eat pasta every night of the week and be a very happy girl! Have a great weekend!


5 lauren

that spaghetti looks great – nice photos. My favorite drink with spaghetti is WINE. :)


6 HoneyB

This looks so good I could eat spaghetti for breakfast!


7 Gloria

Hi Cory, Here’s hoping you get 60 comments — or more — on your spaghetti post. :)
When I was a little kid, I went to a Halloween party. One of the games was being blindfolded and then we had to put our hands into a plate of cold spaghetti noodles. We were told it was intestines. Gross! Another one was a bowl of olives and we were told it was eyeballs. Really gross, but since you have a kid, you’ll probably appreciate this.
I love putting wine in my spaghetti.


8 Southernplate

YOU have one on the peanutbutter/chicken diet too? My daughter is barely four and I swear she’d starve if we ever ran out of either of those. How the child stands the monotony when we have all this great food is completely beyond me!

She does expand her diet for yogurt though…once I was out of town for four days and my husband called to say she had a very upset stomach. I asked what she had eaten and he said “Well all she’s eaten since you left was yogurt. Every time I asked her what she wanted thats what she said!”.
~sighs~ I had to explain to him why we don’t let the three year old eat whatever she wants..
wow, did you want a novel from me today, Zesty?
This looks great. I ALWAYS love spaghetti! Its the universal meal!!
Christy :) Hope you’re having a good day….we are just now getting into light jacket weather!


9 Lisa

I’ve never used ginger is spaghetti sauce. I will hav eto try that.


10 ZestyCook

Thanks Megan, VeggieGirl, Coco, Jenny

Thanks Lauren, HoneyB

Gloria – we may have to try this game tomorrow!

Thanks Christy – I love the novel… thanks for the nice compliments

Lisa – I use ginger everytime I cooked ground meat… I just love the flavour combination.


11 Jo

Looks wonderful Cory :) I like a nice Chianti with spaghetti. Well done! Hope you get to 60 comments!


12 Cate

ohhhhhh, this looks so good. my mom’s tomato sauce recipe also includes red wine, which sends it over the edge of utter deliciousness. You know what? I love a good red WITH my spaghetti as well. antioxidants and whatnot.


13 RecipeGirl

My little one loves worms for dinner! Nice idea to tout that as a Halloween eve meal :)

I like WINE w/ my spaghetti. But I’m a milk fan when I’m not drinking wine.


14 Krista

Space worms?! I LOVE it! And I love your pictures, too!! My mom always threw a few eggs into the boiling pasta water to serve as hard boiled eggs with our pasta. I still do this and my kiddies love it!!


15 The Other Jessie :)

space worms is a great name for that dish! :) I usually drink seltzer water or just regular water with every meal. I also like the photos that you took, you captured the spaghetti so well


16 Gera

Hi Cory!

Yummmmm this is a super spaghetti recipe, wonderful and your photos as well!!

I’m a runner…do you know that the spaghetti with a soft sauce, is THE dish before the races?

I like to drink with it some red wine, perhaps a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot…but not the day of the race ;-)

Hoping you to reach the goal of 60 comments soon!!


17 Jessie

Oh man, I love space worms! Your pics are great. Gosh that looks good! I drink Moonberry Juice (a.k.a. red wine) with mine.

a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse


18 Jenn (eating bender)

Mm…spaghetti!!! Thanks for the tip on the sauce – if you say it’s as easy as cracking open a jar of the pre-made stuff, I’ll have to try it!

Spaghetti + wine = fabulous!!


19 sgfoodlover

I like those close-up pictures taken. They simply look so nice=)

Sgfoodlover from Singapore favourite food


20 Bob

I love spaghetti, I will have to try this sauce for a change of pace from the one I’ve been making for years. It looks wicked good.


21 Foong

Your pictures look great! I am a regular H2O girl so I mainly drink plain water with my pasta. The reason? So that I can enjoy the full flavour and taste of the pasta without being hampered by any other tastes of my drink.


22 Live.Love.Eat

I love beef, pork & red wine in my pasta sauce. I also love drinking the very same red wine with the meal! Awesome…..

I too am a big fan of salted water & pasta water to be added. Great post….


23 Marianne

I actually kinda hate spaghetti (I don’t so tomato sauces – blech), so I don’t really have an answer to your question, but I figured I’d help you out on your post challenge!


24 Vanessa

I love spaghetti. I do my ragu’ (the meat sauce) in a different way, but it takes HOURS to get it done. Good quick recipe here!


25 Culinary Cory

I liked the raw noodles picture. Is it yours?


26 emily

having been brought up on a primarily pasta-based diet, I find that I tend to avoid pasta in my grown-up life, but whenever I do have it, I’m usually pleasantly surprised…this recipe (ginger in the sauce? brilliant) has me actually craving the starchy stuff. Looks great..can’t wait to taste it!


27 Zane

Spaghetti is always my food of choice for Halloween. It dates back to my childhood. For me nothing goes better with Spaghetti than a glass of red wine. Yum yum. Thanks for the post!!


28 veronicaromm

Keep me drooling. V


29 dona146

i super love spaghetti and anything pasta…
great tips…!!! looking forward to all your delectable dishes!


30 maregriff

I also am a big fan of drinking milk with spaghetti. This looks delicious! I love this blog.


31 Michelle

Adding a bit of pasta water to the sauce will not only add some depth to the flavor, but it will also add body to the sauce. The water will have some residual starch from the pasta and that residual sauce will help thicken your sauce a bit more.

Great stuff!


32 Gina

with two kids under four, its milk with almost every meal…my son(2) won’t eat spaghetti, but my daughter(4) enjoys it. I never tried adding pasta water to the sauce, but I have added a bit of the sauce to the water with some pasta dishes, its helps prevent the pasta from gumming up and sticking together. GL getting to 60 comments!!


33 Kat

Spaghetti is my all. time. favorite. meal. BAR NONE.

I’m so making this recipe next week :-) Sounds awesome!

My favorite thing to drink with spaghetti is sweet iced tea, lol.



34 chadnpam1

The spaghetti photos are great. I love a good sauce and this looks really tasty.


35 Sara Winter

I crave spaghetti at least once a week! My tomato sauce recipe is almost like yours, although I have never thought to add ginger to the meat…. hmmmm… a must try!

My favorite drink with spaghetti is a dry red wine :)


36 zestycook

Thanks everyone for your comments.

@CulinaryCory – yes, they are my pictures. Hope everyone has a good halloween


37 Lara

This recipe looks amazing! I will be making this soon–thanks for the great tips! :)


38 Bridget

I also always drink milk with my spaghetti at home!


39 KarmaFreeCooking

I would leave the meat out of the sauce, being vegetarian myself… but I find interesting adding ginger and lemon. My favorite drink with spaghetti has to be a Cola-flavored Ginseng Up – it’s the natural alternative to a Coke. Good luck reaching 60+ comments… M.


40 kathy

Your spaghetti sounds delish, like the idea of some ginger. Milk is my favorite drink with spaghetti, and I’m really surprised at how many other people also like milk with pasta!


41 lane

looks delicious! as for drinks with spaghetti, water is always the best. and then a glass of wine.


42 Tami

I cannot wait to try your version of the spaghetti sauce. Your pictures are fantastic!

My favorite drink would either be a diet cola or water to go along with my spaghetti.


43 Crystal

I’m SO glad that I found this site! I thought that I was the ONLY one who enjoyed a BIG glass of Milk with my spaghetti!
All of my friends and family think I’m nuts because of it.


44 Tracy

I’m also glad that I found this site! It’s been an interesting read so far. My boyfriend and I are also in the milk with spaghetti (and pizza!) camp. I always did it just because I like it, but with both of us now, it’s become a necessity. We’re very sensitive to the acid in tomatoes, so any tomato sauce is usually eaten with a lot of dairy to balance it out.



We drink “2 Buck Chuck” Merlot wine from Trader Joe’s with our spaghetti…or anything Italian!


46 Kathy

Hi! New to the site and enjoying it so far – thanks for sharing! My favorite drink with spaghetti is the classic southern table wine – sweet tea!


47 Adventures of Alice

I was going to write Milk before I finished reading and saw it as your response! I used to put ice in my milk as a kid to keep it really cold at dinner. I loved having spaghetti as a kid–it was one of my favorite meals and still is!


48 bonnie

I found you through google, this is an older post, but I just had the milk/spaghetti conversation with a friend a few weeks ago – thanks :)


49 Reggie

I love spaghetti and Im having it tonight for the 1st time with red wine, hope its grand!!


50 Dilin

Mmmmm…. :D. I guess water? Keeps you not thirsty and you only get the spaghetti taste.


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