Prep 30 mins
Cook 6 hrs
I developed this through many years of trial and error with my boys. As with many young children, they HATED most vegetables, and I couldn't stand a red sauce made without them. I had to get very inventive, and "sneak" the vegetable flavor into my sauce, without them knowing what was in it. Now that they are grown, I'm not so diligent about mincing my vegetables, and usually just dice them by hand when I make this delicious sauce. The real beauty of this sauce is that the seasoning is strictly "no fuss". The Italian sausage, vegetables and dry salad dressing mix provide most of the seasoning. No need to try to figure out how much oregano is too much! I use the same sauce for manicotti, lasagna and baked ziti. It's also terrific on baked potatoes for a quick lunch!
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage
- 1 (8 ounce) carton fresh mushrooms
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 0.5 (2/3 ounce) packet dried Italian salad dressing mix (I use Good Seasons)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- Squeeze the sausage out of the casings into a skillet and brown; you can also "brown" the meat in a microwave colander.
- Drain off fat and add meat to crock pot.
- In a food processor, combine mushrooms, onion, garlic, and bell pepper and process until minced. If you don't have a food processor, just chop well.
- Add mixture to crock pot.
- Add tomato sauce, tomatoes (with juice) and tomato paste. Stir in the salt, pepper and dry salad dressing mix.
- Stir through, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or 4 hours on high.
- Serve over hot pasta. I prefer whole wheat spaghetti or linguine.
- Top with shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese.