Myra Johnson's Romantic Spaghetti Night
Thanks for inviting me to the café, Ruthy & Missy! So happy to be here during Valentine’s week! To introduce my recipe, I’d like to share a short romantic excerpt from my novel Autumn Rains. The heroine is Valerie Bishop, whose late husband owned an Italian restaurant. In this scene, Valerie is helping her sister-in-law, Ellen, prepare spaghetti for dinner.
The back door swung open and Connor [Valerie’s brother] breezed in. “Mmm, Italian. My favorite.” He planted a noisy kiss on Ellen’s cheek.
“Come back here,” she demanded when he turned away. “You can do better than that.” Grabbing a chunk of his blond hair, she pulled his face to hers and kissed him passionately.
The color rose in his face as Ellen released him. “It’s the marinara sauce,” he said, winking at Valerie. “Always does that to her. You know, Italian, the food of romance?”
Well, I’m not Italian, and these days (cooking for just my husband and me) I usually buy marinara sauce in a jar. But back when I cooked for a family of four, one of our favorite meals was spaghetti with my homemade sauce. If you’d like to give it a try, here’s my recipe. Amounts are approximate because I typically cook using the “a little of this, a little of that” method. This is one recipe you can tweak any way you like!
Servings: about 3-5
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
½ white or yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 14-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
½-1 4-ounce can mushroom pieces and stems, with liquid
½ cup red wine (optional) OR ½ cup water
¼ tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. basil
½ tsp. garlic powder (or use 1-2 crushed cloves)
¼ tsp. summer savory
¼ tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. fennel seed
1 tbsp. sugar
2 or 3 bay leaves (remove before serving)
Brown meat and onion in a large skillet; drain or blot off fat. Add all remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. If sauce becomes too thick during cooking, add more liquid. Serve over spaghetti or the pasta of your choice.
About Myra: Myra Johnson never thought she’d leave Texas, and she’ll always be a Texan at heart, but sometimes you just have to go where the grandkids are. Nowadays she and her husband are enjoying the beauty of the Carolinas and living near three of their six grandchildren. Empty-nesters, the Johnsons share their home with two lovable dogs. Myra’s first Heartsong Presents romance, Autumn Rains, won the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript and was a 2010 ACFW Carol Award finalist. Find Myra on the Web at www.myrajohnson.com and www.seekerville.net.
About Autumn Rains: Healy Ferguson, a redeemed ex-con, arrives in town searching for the friend who led him to Christ, but he isn’t prepared for the news of his friend’s death, much less to find himself falling in love with his friend’s widow. Valerie Bishop’s life was shattered the night her husband died, but the man who begins to fill the empty place in her heart holds the key to a buried memory that could destroy her all over again. If their love is to survive, they must each confront the fears imprisoning them and trust in God’s healing mercy.
Autumn Rains is currently available through limited markets only, but you can also find it in Myra’s 3-in-1 collection Gateway Weddings, available through Amazon.com and wherever Christian romance is sold.