After using this recipe you will never go back to canned sauce again. This is from my parents, I grew up thinking all spaghetti was this good. After I realized that was a lie, I refused to order or eat it anywhere but at home.
This recipe is super simple and can be adapted depending on what you have at home. It's also GREAT for lasagna. This recipe makes enough for four people, so when it's just my husband and me I will either freeze half of it for later or make a lasagna to freeze for another night.
Again, I don't cook with exact measurements so I am sorry if that stresses you out.
The key to this recipe is Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage. You can make it with other sausage or meat, but it's just not the same. My husband and I make an effort to cook with whole, unprocessed, and organic foods as much as possible, but I sacrifice for this comfort food.
1 package Johnsonville sweet italian sausage (about 1 lb)
2-3 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (if you like a chunkier sauce use 2 cans diced tomatoes.)
1 can of tomato paste (You can use the whole thing or just a few spoonfuls.)
-to make the sauce go further you can add another can of sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken stock or water.
2-3 cloves garlic (more if you love garlic)
1/3 cup good red wine (optional)
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tbsp sugar (This is also optional. The sugar helps cut out some of the acidity of the tomatoes. You can also use chopped carrots for this purpose.)
1 bay leaf
red peper flakes (to taste)
chopped fresh basil (or ground)
parmesan for serving
* A note on the spices. I rarely measure them out and will add them once when browning the meat and then again with the liquids. You can also use an italian seasonings mix. Whenever possible, fresh herbs are always better :)
In a good pot,
brown the meat. For some reason I like to use the sausage in the casings but the ground sausage is fine as well. Remove the casings and break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle some of the spices on the meat. I like the meat to be pretty brown but as long as its not pink in the middle it's fine.
At this point either remove the meat with a slotted spoon or move it to the outside of the pot. Drain some of the grease out leaving enough to saute the onion. Cook the onion until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook till fragrant.
Add the sausage back to the pot then pour in the wine to deglaze. Reduce the wine for a few minutes scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. This is the time to add water or chicken stock for more volume.
Add in the rest of the spices, reserving some of the fresh basil for the end. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 30 min to an hour. The longer this simmers the better. This can be made in a crock pot after browning the meat and onion.
Let me know what you think!
*Freeze leftover sauce for an easy weeknight meal.
*Pull together a lasagna with leftover sauce and freeze.
*Save for lasagna soup (just add chicken stock and lasagna noodles.)