Food + Wine

Nama Recipe #4 & 5 – Grannie’s Spaghetti and Good Rolls

So, according to my mom, she would come home from school and smell this cooking on the stove when Grannie lived with them.  Grannie is Nama’s mother.  I never knew her… the only memory I have of Grannie is visiting her in the nursing home and seeing framed pictures of her around the house.  But this is a dish my mom remembers very well from her childhood.
When I first told her I was cooking my way through Nama’s recipe book, the very first thing she asked was, ‘Oooh! Is Grannie’s spaghetti in there?!’  And lo and behold, there it was.  Page 7.  ‘Spaghetti’.  And the recipe was just so intriguing to me… it calls for searing small chunks of beef, covering it with water, adding some veggies, and then cooking it for hours before tossing it with pasta.  A little odd, no?  It’s just not a way I’ve ever cooked a pasta sauce…or many things for that matter.  I think it’s the covering with the water that throws me off… but I intended to follow all these Nama recipes to a T, so that’s what I did.
And.  It.  Was.  Amazing.

I served it to friends who came over for dinner- lots of adults, lots of kids, lots of different tastebuds, and every single person loved it.  We all kinda summed it up as tasting like pot roast tossed in spaghetti.
What’s not to like there?
But I’m not done.  You all need to be introduced to what I served alongside Grannie’s Spaghetti.  On Page 6 of the recipe book, to the left of the spaghetti recipe was something titled, ‘Good Rolls’.
As in… these rolls are good.
Ok then.
My daughter and I made them, and I’m not lying when I say these are GOOD rolls.  Soft, slightly sweet yeast rolls.
Again… what’s not to like there?
So, below you’ve got both recipes.  They went really well together, (I served it with a simple side salad) and I’ll be making both again.
…Maybe one day soon, when my kids are coming home from school, so they can start their own memories of it.



spaghetti serves 6-8

For the spaghetti…

1 lb. lean ‘stew’ beef (already in chunks), or you can get a 1 1/2 pound-ish chuck roast and trim it down, then cut into bite sized chunks…but I felt pretty great about buying it already trimmed and ready to go.  I cut up any bigger pieces and made sure they were all about bite-size.

Sear in a very hot, high-sided skillet.  Season with (kosher) salt.

Once you have a good sear on the meat, cover with water.

Add in 1 large can of whole, peeled tomatoes
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic

And season again with more (kosher) salt.
(Let it be known that the original recipe says ‘garlic and celery, diced, to taste’…so I suppose you can add more or less depending on YOUR taste 😉



Cover and allow to simmer for hours…I’d say plan on 2.  (Nama didn’t say)  All you’re looking for is really tender beef and a thickened liquid.Taste to check seasoning.  Adjust if necessary.Toss in 1 box of spaghetti that you cooked in salted water.  Reserve some of the pasta water to add if you need more liquid for the sauce (that’s me talking, not Nama).


makes 16 large rolls


In a large, glass or ceramic bowl dissolve 1 package of active dry yeast and 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup warm water.  The water needs to be like bath water temperature… it should be very, very warm but not too hot that it’s uncomfortable to touch.  Let this sit at room temperature until the mixture foams… roughly 5 minutes.Add to the bowl, while stirring…
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
4 cups AP flourOnce it starts to come together, add in 1 egg, beaten and 2 tsp (kosher) salt + a pinch.

The dough should be very soft and a little sticky.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise overnight in the fridge.



And it would have doubled (at least) in size…

Grease a 9×13 inch glass (casserole) baking dish using half a stick of butter (4 TB), and you’ll use that same butter to melt and brush the rolls after you form them.


Flour your counter top and dump the dough onto the counter.

Knead just a bit to stiffen it up and cut dough into 16 pieces.


Shape each piece into balls and place in the greased baking dish.



Brush with the melted 4 TB of butter, sprinkle with more salt, and allow to rise, covered in plastic wrap, for 2 hours at room temperature.


They should have doubled in size…


Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.




To see my other Nama recipe posts, check out Tennessee BBQ Chicken, Caramel Fudge Cake, and Nama’s Nut Bread.
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