I'm thinking about trying this with ground turkey so that next time frolicswllamas can join us. zordac liked the sauce but generally dislikes pasta of any sort.
Roughly 2.5 pounds ground beef
one large onion, diced coarsely
three cans tomato sauce
one large can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 or 1/3 cup ketchup
crushed/ground red pepper
roasted red pepper flakes
ground black pepper
kosher or any finely ground, quick-dissolving salt
In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, soften a handful of onions in butter and salt. Allow at least some of the onions to get a bit of color on them. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and ketchup.
Take the rest of the onions and soften them in butter and kosher salt in a skillet. Once the onions are soft, add ground beef directly on top of the onions and break up as it cooks. Drain grease then add onions and beef to your tomato sauce pan.
Add basil, garlic, parsley, thyme, crushed/ground red pepper, roasted red pepper flakes, black pepper, and a "bit" of salt to taste (remember that you've used salt already to soften the onions).
Cook for at least a half hour (more if you can stand waiting). Add mushrooms almost as an afterthought.
Heap over some chunky pasta (I love penne with almost any sauce).
I love fresh mushrooms, but I'm not sure where I'd put them in this whole process - perhaps saute them in a separate skillet then add about halfway through. I like how jarred mushrooms stand up to heat and keep their texture. Perhaps I could use fresh mushrooms and just not cook them before adding.
I could also use real bell pepper, but bell pepper can be very overwhelming. The crushed red added some heat that complemented the sweetness of the tomatoes.