1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14 ounce can water
6 ounce can tomato paste
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (don't leave out)
2 teaspoons dry basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (don't leave out)
1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the powdered kind)
1 pound of mozzarella cheese grated
rigatoni noodles (eyeball this amount - about 8 ounces)
Cook the chopped onion in a tablespoon of vegetable oil for about 5 minutes or until it starts to smell a little sweet. Add the garlic and cook/stir for another minute or so.
Stir the ground beef into the onion-garlic and cook until the meat is no longer pink. After it is cooked, if there is a lot of oil in the pan, make sure you drain the meat well before you add the following.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, sugar and spices. Stir well and simmer SLOWLY for an hour and a half (stirring once in a while). After an hour and a half, most of the liquid should have cooked away and it will look like this (not too dry). If it looks overly dry, add a cup of water.
Stir in the Parmesan and Mozzarella (but save a little of the mozzarella to sprinkle over the top before you bake it).
Now a word about the noodles: You can use ANY noodle you want, but we really like the hardy (thick walled) rigatoni noodles. Boil them in salted water for 15 minutes. I use half a package of rigatoni noodles in this recipe. If you are using another kind of noodle, just eyeball the amount (and boil according to package directions).
Drain the noodles well and Stir them into the meat and cheese mixture. Top with a little extra mozzarella and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or till bubbly.