Spaghetti alla Grego

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1 - Tbsp olive oil
1 - lb lean ground beef
1 - lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from skins
About 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 - 28 oz. can Italian-style plum tomatoes, crushed
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup water
Dried parsley
Dried basil
1/2 tsp coarse-ground black pepper
1 - tsp salt
1/2 - tsp sugar
1/4 - tsp fennel or anise seed, or 1/8 tsp of each

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground beef, sausage and garlic. Mix all together and crumble finely with a fork. Let simmer until meat has lost its pink color, then stir in mushrooms. When mushrooms have absorbed oil and turned dark, drain off the excess fat. Return to burner and toss in half a handful each of dried parsley and dried basil. (Don't worry, this is the way Ben did it, and it's OK.) Add remaining ingredients and stir all together thoroughly, then let simmer over low heat for at least one hour; if you're not in a hurry you could let it go for two or three hours --the longer it cooks, the better the flavor.

After you've tasted the sauce a few times and decided it's ready to serve, cook 1 lb of spaghetti the way you like it (al dente or softer).

Drain, then toss with about 1 cup of the sauce, or a little more if you think it needs it. Serve in a large platter or bowl, sprinkled with grated parmesan or romano cheese; furnish sides of extra sauce and cheese to be added according to individual taste. Accompanied by a green salad and some garlic bread, this simple meal becomes a feast. We've fed at least ten people with this recipe, but only you know the appetites and capacities of your diners. Hopefully you'll have some sauce left over for--

Ben's Sicilian-style Pizza

If you're into making your own pizza dough, please do so. But if you're in a hurry or don't want to bother, do it my way:

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
Leftover Greco's spaghetti sauce--about 2 cups
1 green bell pepper, cut in small squares (about 1 in.)
1/2 lb grated mozzarella cheese--or if you prefer, a smaller amount of grated parmesan or romano
Olive oil

Put sauce in a saucepan (what else?) and place over low heat to warm. Then, oil a 9X14 in. baking pan generously with olive oil.
With oil on hands, press dough into pan as flatly as possible all the way up to the edges. Cover and set aside in warm place to rise. While you're waiting, sauté pepper slices in olive oil until soft and lightly browned. When dough has risen, press back down and make a small ridge around the edges. Spoon the heated sauce onto the dough and gently spread it over the dough's surface, then sprinkle on the cheese as evenly as possible.
Lastly, arrange the pepper slices on top and bake the whole thing in a preheated 350º oven for about 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and edge crust is golden-brown.
Remove from oven, let stand for about 5 minutes, then slice in squares and serve.
This is a deep-dish pizza, not only filling but real good! Enjoy.

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