I still remember the day I learned how to cook spaghetti. Mumika didn’t feel like cooking that day and I had my heart set of spaghetti. I must have been around 13 at the time.

“Why don’t you make it?” She said while laying down on the couch watching TV. This had become her daily come home from work ritual. Mumika will claim this was not part of her routine until around 2000, but she was doing the whole lay down on the couch long before loser ex-boyfriend #3 came along.
“I don’t know how.” I replied.
“Well I’ll tell you what to put in it and then you’ll know how to make it.”

She told me what I had to put in it and 30 minutes later I set a plate on the living room table. Even thought we had a kitchen table, as the years went by, we hardly used it for eating. The kitchen table was more my homework/study table. The dining room table became Mumika’s studying table when she went back to school and then it was primarily our fancy dinner/ holiday table or the puzzle table. The kitchen table didn’t become a primary eating table until I moved out.

“Oh my god! This is better than my spaghetti!” She exclaimed, “What did you do differently?”
“Nothing. I made it the way you told me to.”

I think that’s when we realized I was a natural.

Over the years, I’ve changed this basic recipe based on how I feel when I decide to make it. Some days I take the bell peppers out and use mushrooms or I’ll load it with every vegetable I can get my hands on. At one time, Mumika caught me putting chocolate chips in it and yelled at me for adding junk to it (chocolate intensifies the tomato flavor) One thing I do know is, it’s pretty phenomenal and even the pickiest eater will happily ask for seconds.

The one thing I have changed and will not compromise on is the use of tomatoes and cilantro. They have to be in it. It tastes more Italian that way.


1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoon cilantro, torn to pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound spaghetti
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 sazon packet
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (optional)


Cook pasta as instructed on package. Drain and set aside when cooked.

In a large skillet cook ground beef. Add the packet of sazon while browning.

After ground beef is cooked, add onions, bell peppers, cilantro, garlic, Italian seasonings and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are tender.

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add spaghetti and toss until well combined.

Makes 8.

This is one of those fool proof recipes. You cannot fuck it up. And it will taste perfect every time. Bryan absolutely loves it and usually is the one to request it.

Add garlic bread and parmesan on top of the spaghetti, and it’s the perfect Italian dinner.

It’s better than Fazoli’s and Olive Garden. In fact, if my spaghetti is better than an Italian restaurant’s spaghetti than chances are I will never dine there again.

I once had a roommate that would not touch any food with red bell pepper in it. I told her to try my spaghetti, if she didn’t like it she could walk away and I wouldn’t get hurt. 10 minutes later she looks at me, “Is it okay if I have more?” That’s when I knew my spaghetti was amazing. So as I stated before, even the pickiest “ewww, I don’t like that” eaters will love this spaghetti.

If you want to kick it up a notch, sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese on top before serving.



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