Spaghetti RILEY!

By the way, to those who feel I usurped the title of Spaghetti King: freedom of the press belongs to those who use it...

What is this thing about Spaghetti, that I feel that the word itself should always be capitalized? Whatever it is, I hereby present THE WORLD’S BEST: RILEY SPAGHETTI. Started by Roger Riley’s mom, Julia, the tradition of adding ingredients and simmering for hours was carried along by Roger and Shirley. But I must say, it did not reach its current state of perfection until Mike Riley made it his own.

One note: I am crazy about herbs. Whether you pronounce the “h” or not, the more herbs, the better. So when I have access to a garden of herbs, I put in as much as I can. Dried herbs are just as flavorful ina sauce like this. In any case, I put in LOTS of herbs. The only one I watch out for is Rosemary... it’s very strong.

COOKING TIME: 1 hr prep, 1 hr simmer (at least)

Takes about 45 min to 1 hour to prepare, what with all the veggie cutting, meat searing, and so on. Then it needs at least another hour to simmer, to soften up those same veggies. But really, let it simmer for another 3 or 4 hours . And of course, it always tastes better after it’s been frozen and reheated... .



Hamburg: break apart the meat into small bits and drop into pre-heated (7 on the dial) pot large enough to hold everything. Once it’s all in, stir continuously. Don’t put the lid on, or you will end up with chunky meatballs. The more you stir, the smoother the sauce.

When all is browned, drain the fat.

Everything else: Add all the cans of stuff, and all the liquid ingredients, stirring them in.

Add all the herbs and spices. Stir.

Add all the vegetables. Stir

COVER. Let simmer for as long as you can. Stir every so often.

TASTE frequently. Add more of your favorite flavours (like Worcestershire) until it’s just right.

That’s it... not so hard, eh?


I always make three times the amount that’s shown in the recipe. 11 and 12 pounds or more of hamburg, three cans of Sauce, 2 or 3 cans of paste, three times the vegetables, twice the amount of herbs. A third of a bottle of Worcestershire, and a third of a Litre of wine.

YEAH, Baby!



3 lbs

Medium ground beef (Lean has little flavour; Regular, too much fat)

3 stalks

Celery, sliced

1 whole

Green bell pepper

1 lb

Mushrooms, sliced (or a couple of cans)

1 large

Onion: Spanish, purple, Vidalia, Texas... whatever you prefer

1 can

Your favorite spaghetti sauce, as the base. I buy all mine in the States; the Del Monte brand is good enough to eat all by itself (almost). Failing that, Catelli makes the best meat sauce in Canada.

1 can

Diced tomatos

1 can

Tomato sauce, just plain old tomato sauce

1 large can

Tomato paste

1 cup

Cheap red wine. No need to use the good stuff when cooking...

1/4 cup



Hot sauce, your favorite. Wing sauce adds even more flavour



Dry Measure


1 Tbsp


1 Tbsp


1 Tbsp


1 tsp


1 tsp


1 Tbsp


1 Tbsp


1 Tbsp


1 Tbsp


1 Tbsp

Sugar... yes, sugar


Bay leaves

1 Truckload

Garlic: fresh, ground, chopped, dry... whatever. Garlic is GOOD for you.

Best Spaghetti