Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mother's Mill Mountain Spaghetti Sauce

This is the spaghetti sauce I knew growing up.  It isn't Italian.  My mother never claimed it to be.  And, how she came up with the name is a mystery.

My hometown of Roanoke lies west of the Blue Ridge and east of the Allegheny mountains.  It's in the Roanoke Valley (which is at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley) and surrounded by various mountains.  Catawba Mountain, Dead Man's Mountain, a few I don't recall their names and, the most well-known, Mill Mountain.  Mill Mountain has a huge star that is illuminated at night.  My parents apparently never approved of that star.  They didn't approve of Mt. Rushmore either!  But, I digress.

As children, we loved picnics on the mountain, visits to the Children's Zoo that sits on top of the mountain and performances at the Mill Mountain Playhouse, which is no longer on the mountain.  And we grew up under the star.

We also longed for Chef B's spaghetti in a can but we always got Mill Mountain spaghetti sauce and it is good, really good.  My children know it as grandmother's spaghetti and were always happy when it bubbled away on the stove.

Here's the recipe.  I've tweaked it just a little.


Mother's Mill Mountain Spaghetti Sauce

2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup diced yellow onions
1 cup chopped green peppers (for us a mix of yellow, orange and red peppers--no green)
1 tsp garlic powder (I used two fat cloves of garlic, minced)
1 pound hamburger meat (I used ground sirloin)
1 8-oz can sliced mushrooms (I used 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms quartered)
2 tsp oregano (I used 1 Tbsp of a natural herb blend sent me by my blog friend, Tammy)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 24 ounce can of marinara sauce (I used some I had frozen from last fall)
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large sauce pan, heat the oil.  Add the onions and peppers and saute over medium heat for five minutes.  Add the ground meat, breaking up well and saute for about five minutes, stirring often.  Add the garlic and saute for one minute (or the powder and just keep going).  Add the mushrooms and saute an additional three minutes.

2.  Stir in the oregano, bay leaf, sugar, tomato paste and marinara sauce.  Simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring often.  Taste and adjust the seasons.

3.  Serve over pasta and pass the Parmesan.

Enjoy!

30 comments:

  1. Bonnie,

    I love sauces like this. Mine is very similar. Thanks for sharing. I love your recipes.

    Carol

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  2. It sounds like a very tasty sauce...my mom always made hers with ketchup...I'm 100% positive it was not Italian.

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  3. Love these wintry food inspirations! Thanks.

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  4. That recipe sounds very similar to the one I grew up enjoying. I love to hear about your growing up in Roanoke. I know one Little Man who will have good memories of growing up there, too. Why did your mom and dad not approve of the the star nor Mt. Rushmore? We enjoyed a picnic under the star last fall. =)

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  5. I have memories of my mother's spaghetti sauce as well -- and although we loved it, it wasn't Italian either, that's for sure!

    Loved the store and the sauce looks wonderful -- it may make it's way to Linderhof's table soon!

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  6. this is very close to my mothers sauce and also mine since i learned it from her. it is good and I am now wanting a plate. even for breakfast. maybe it should have been named valley sauce? we lived in a valley surrounded by mountains, Sloans Valley Ky, so i am tripping back in time right now from reading your post

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  7. Your Spaghetti Sauce looks and sounds wonderful. Very similar to mine actually. There is nothing so comforting than a pot of Spaghetti Sauce bubbling away on the stove.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

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  8. Now I'm craving a bowl of spaghetti at 7:30 in the morning! Looks wonderful.

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  9. This sounds delicious and I could almost smell it cooking as you described it bubbling on the stove. My mother was not a cook. An Italian neighbor, however, took me under her wing and taught me most of the secrets of her kitchen. I'd love to taste your sauce. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  10. Another good recipe--similar to what I used to make. Enjoyed hearing more about Roanoke!

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  11. This spaghetti looks and sounds super delicious.

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  12. I am going to go thaw the meat out right now, hubby loves this stuff. I on the other hand will have salmon.

    I read on OPB blog where your sweet 4 legged baby scoffed down some sausage... Do dogs get heartburn? I wonder if that may teach him a lesson?

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  13. Looks delicious, Bonnie. George makes a home-made Spaghetti sauce similar to that one.. SO much better than the canned or bottled stuff...

    My mother made everything home-made also. I used to fuss because I wanted some STORE-BOUGHT cookies instead of those ole homemade ones... ha ha (How silly is that!!!)

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  14. It's so nice to have a recipe that you grew up with and always loved. Sounds delicious!

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  15. I so enjoyed your spaghetti story and reading about the mountains in Roanoke. I didn't know any of the names, except for Mill Mountain. Do you think this would work without the meat? Any suggestions? I printed it out and am going to try it, but we don't buy ground beef or eat much red meat. I think I will just follow the recipe exactly but leave the meat out.

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  16. Loved hearing about where you grew up and the mountain with the star :)

    This sounds like a delicious remembrance of Roanoke!

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  17. Pasta and meat sauce is often the recipe that we default to on the super busy nights. It's fast and always so satisfying. This looks well rounded with all my favorite pizza topping vegetables.

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  18. Mom's recipes are always the best! Roanoke is a beautiful place- star included. :)

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  19. Hi Bonnie,
    This is very much like the spaghetti I grew up on as well. In fact, just reading the ingredients brought me straight back about 35 yrs to my Mama's kitchen, where I knew we would always find the comfort of a happy home, and great food!!!
    Have a beautiful weekend!!

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  20. Wow! The sauce and the spaghetti looks utterly delicious.

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  21. This may not be authentically Italian, but it does sound delicious! Total comfort food.

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  22. Yum, I love a good, rich spaghetti sauce like this one. I try many difference sauces for pasta and always come back to this version. My grandmother always added a bit of sugar to her sauce too. She thought it brought out the flavor of the tomatoes. I agree.

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  23. It is amazing how many memories are connected with food. This spaghetti sauce looks like the one my family makes for ages too. I guess mothers are all the same whether on a mountain in the US or in a city in Athens!

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  24. oh...this looks wonderful.....

    happy to see you at Farmhouse and thanks for Teddy's Birthday Wishes

    have a great weekend, my friend

    kary and teddy

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  25. Every family has a spaghetti sauce recipe! Yours sounds great esp with the garlic powder, YUM!

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  26. Moms' recipes are always best. They are always the ones we turn to when we need a little extra dose of comfort and love. This reminds me of my own childhood favorite. Thank you for sharing another great recipe with me. You never let me down! I hope you have a weekend of love and relaxation. We all need it, I think!

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  27. I needed a homemade spaghetti sauce! And this sounds wonderful. I now have to abide by a low sodium diet and this looks like it might work! Thanks!!!

    Have a great weekend!

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  28. I have had an urge for a good spaghetti for a quite a while; now I know what to add to my menu next week. Looks so good!
    Rita

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