A great sauce for any pasta dish, I usually leave the meats out for most baked dishes. This recipe came to me from my Mother, a full-blooded Italian-American, with a few minor additions/changes by me. I have never found a recipe that I like as much, but then I am probably biased. Cook time is 1 to 8 hours depending on how long you have. Mom used to cook it all day. I like to go at least two hours, but I have spent as little as 45 minutes on the cook time.
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 large onion
- 2 -4 cloves garlic (or 2-4 tablespoons of diced garlic from the jar You can adjust to taste.)
- 3 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste (I prefer Contadina)
- 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans tomatoes (Use what you prefer, but I like the diced Italian Seasoning type)
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 lb ground beef or 1 lb stewing beef, cut in cubes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (can use vegetable oil if you prefer)
- 4 -8 ounces sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 2 -4 ounces black olives, chopped or sliced (optional)
- 1 bell pepper (optional)
- sweet basil
- italian seasoning, can be used in place of the above spices
- bay leaf
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- black pepper
- Cut celery and onion (and bell pepper if used) as fine as you prefer.
- If you like chunky style sauce make the pieces bigger, I like mine chopped fairly small.
- In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tblspn of oil, when oil is hot (not smoking) add celery and stirfry.
- As celery begins to clarify, add onion (and bell pepper, if used) and stirfry until it begins to glaze, add chopped garlic, stir for a short time (don't let anything begin to brown).
- If using meat, add ground beef or stew beef and brown, stirring regularly, adjust heat to make sure nothing burns.
- Salt and black pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a larger pot (if you have a good sized pot that you can brown in, you can just start with that instead of using the skillet.).
- Stir in tomato paste and cook until the color darkens.
- Stir in tomatos and tomato sauce.
- Add spices (Italian seasoning or individual spices) to taste.
- Add 3 Bay Leaves.
- Stir in mushrooms and/or black olives and crushed red pepper, if desired.
- Stir in 1-2 cans of water (I use the tomato paste, tomato and tomato paste cans to get the leavings out of them.).
- Adjust heat to simmer.
- Let cook for at least 1 hour, longer if you can, and stir regularly.
- Check spice to taste and add what you want.
- You can cook this for a little while or for a longer time.
- I prefer at least 2 hours to give all the spices a chance to blend well.
- But it can be cooked for as little as a half hour.
- If you want it to cook for a long time, monitor the thickness and add water as needed.
- Don't forget to remove the Bay Leaves before serving.
- Some people like to add a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity, but I believe that the Bay Leaves accomplish this and have never used sugar.
- When done, serve over or mix with the cooked pasta of your choice.
- Add grated parmissan if desired.
- Also individuals can add crushed red pepper to their own servings, for those who like it a little spicier.
- If making a baked dish such as Lasagna, Ziti, etc.
- you may want to make the sauce a little thinner (add water) to start with.
I chose to make this from Pic A chef 07. I chose to freeze mine and have this on hand when I was ready for a great sauce now that it is getting hot out. I put mine in freezer zip loc bags layed flat until frozen then stacked up along the door. This one you do not want to loose in the freezer. Excellant, changed nothing. Thanks for posting this for us to try.
I made this sauce tonight for my family and it was a nice, thick sauce that was full of flavor. We'll have plenty to get two meals out of it and still have enough leftover to freeze for yet another meal. I didn't add the olives, celery, bell pepper or red pepper flakes which was just a personal preferance. This was very good and I would make this again. Thank you for shaing Wally!! Made for spring PAC '07.
Without a doubt, the best spaghetti I've ever had. For the optional ingredients I used ground beef and sliced mushrooms. For the spices I used 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp fresh rosemary, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, a sprinkling of garlic and onion powders, and 3 bay leaves. Besides the flavor, the best part is that it makes plenty for the freezer for future easy weeknights. This wonderful recipe is going into my Perfection cookbook - very few make that one.