Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Black Olives

I've been in love with spaghetti and meat sauce since I was born! While growing up, if we weren't having Vietnamese for dinner, chances are, we were having spaghetti. So this is pretty much the way I grew up knowing how to make this divine dish. Simple and so comforting. Oh the beautiful red sauce, tangy and savory and full of garlic, onion, tomato and meat flavors. I'm drooling just thinking about it.  Now the stealth ingredient here is the black olives. I love that they're slightly briny to add just the right amount to saltiness to the sauce. Plus, that black color just looks gorgeous in the sea of red sauce. I can defeat any champion eater at a contest with my spaghetti! Call me on it.

spaghetti and meat sauce
meat sauce with black olive

RECIPE for 4-6 servings

1 lb of spaghetti pasta, cook al dente
1 lb of ground beef
1 lb of ground chicken
1/2 lb of white button mushroom, quartered, optional
28 oz. can crushed tomato
12 oz. can tomato paste
48 oz. jar of Prego spaghetti sauce
1 medium white onion, diced
1/2 bulb of garlic, minced
4 tbs of dried Italian herbs
2 cans of pitted black olives, drain off brine
2 tbs sugar
3 tbs kosher salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, to be shaved at serving time
1/2 cup of water
Olive oil

1. Combine ground meats with 2 tbs of dried herbs, 2 tbs of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper.  Don't over mix the meat. Gently fold them so to distribute the ingredients.

2. On high heat, add oil and drop in onion and garlic to saute until fragrant and slightly golden. Then add in the ground meat mixture. Continue to cook for about 6-8 mins.

3. On medium heat, add in the tomato sauces to cook it down. Add in the rest of the dried herbs, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for 30-40 mins with partial lid on and watch out as the sauce will splatter. Add in water if needed, a little bit at a time so the sauce is not too dry.

4. Serve with a bed of spaghetti pasta or your favorite pasta. Remember to top with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh ground black pepper.