2 lbs. ground chuck
1 lb. Italian sausage, mild or hot
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
8 oz. can tomato paste [See note.*]
2 28-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. Italian seasoning
2 Bay leaves
1 t. Sriracha or
1 t. prepared mustard
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 c. beef broth
1 lb. ziti or other pasta, cooked to al dente
2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1 c. grated
Brown the meat and drain; add the onion and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft.
Add the tomato paste and stir for 5 minutes to bloom the paste. Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, Bay leaves, Sriracha sauce, prepared mustard, salt, pepper, and beef broth.
Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir occasionally and add more broth, if necessary. Remove Bay leaves.
[*Or use 2 quarts of your favorite commercial spaghetti sauce.]
Combine with cooked pasta and pour into a large greased casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees. Remove cover and sprinkle evenly with cheeses. Bake an additional 15 minutes, uncovered, until cheeses are melted and casserole is bubbling. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
This can be made up to two days ahead of time and refrigerated. Bake for 45-60 minutes the first time, until the casserole is heated through and bubbling.
This is a great opportunity to get flavor
to the pasta. I add 2 packets Knorr Beef or Chicken Stock Concentrate to the water used to cook the pasta. Use a few bouillon cubes or flavor paste or whatever floats your boat. You won't be sorry.