Prep 20 mins
Cook 3 hrs
This is my own recipe and IMHO, as good as it gets! I like a thicker sauce but without chunky vegetables in it, so what makes this different is that it is cooked with a lb. of Italian sausage for flavor (removed after cooking) and I put the veggies in the blender to make them smooth before adding to the sauce. Makes a thick, flavorful sauce you can freeze and use with meatballs, as a meatless sauce, for lasagne, etc. If you want to keep the sausage in the sauce, simply slice it into pieces and add back to the sauce. You can also add pepperoni to bump it up a notch...just stir in and heat before serving. Either way, it's chock full of healthy veggies and you can sneak them in without the kids ever knowing! :-) NOTE: For ultimate flavor, let the sauce rest in the refrigerator overnight before serving so the flavors can develop.
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 18 ounces tomato paste (3 6-ounce cans)
- 24 ounces tomato sauce (3 8-ounce cans)
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen or organic)
- 2 lbs plum tomatoes, fresh & ripe (if unavailable, substitute 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes, in addition to the can above)
- 1 large onion, peeled & chopped in large chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut in large chunks
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut in large chunks
- 1⁄2 cup basil, washed and stems removed
- 2 cups tomato juice (I use organic)
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled (do not use the kind in the jar...must be fresh)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1⁄2 cups red wine (not cooking wine but what you'd drink with the meal)
- Place the Italian sausage in a large, nonstick skillet or Dutch oven. Drizzle with the 1/4 cup olive oil and saute over VERY low heat for 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Add the tomato paste and stir. If necessary, to avoid sticking, add another drizzle of olive oil and stir well. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes, until the tomato paste darkens and looks almost black.
- Meanwhile, put the remaining vegetables in a blender and add the 2 cups tomato juice. Blend until the vegetables are no longer solid. Add the two tablespoons of sugar, the salt and the red pepper flakes. Pour this mixture over the sauce and stir well to blend. Simmer, partially covered, for 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add the red wine in the last hour of cooking. Continue to simmer at least one hour, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until sauce reaches desired consistency. At this point, you can add any additional meat that has been pre-cooked, such as ground beef, sausage, or any vegetables such as mushrooms, as desired.
- This makes a large amount so you can freeze extra sauce in ziplock bags for the freezer. Simply thaw and reheat to use in lasagne, as pizza sauce, for spaghetti & meatballs, etc.
I love that I have bags of this sauce in the freezer, ready to use. Dh loves it and it works with everything, even with the sausage left in. The technique of darkening the tomato paste was new to me and I like the end result. Only thing I changed was to reduce the sugar to 1T. Good job, Epi Curious. This one's a keeper.