i’ve been asked if i make everything from scratch and the answer is a resounding “no.” i love learning how to make kitchen basics, and comparing the homemade versions against the store-bought varieties i’ve eaten my entire life up to that point. however i don’t have unlimited free time and i’m a rather huge believer in not wasting my time, or other’s.
so in short, i’m happy to make things from scratch when i can, and when the expense of time and effort is worth it. on some days, homemade pasta sauce is absolutely my jam. i’ll be home all afternoon, and i love the smell that fills the house as it simmers on the stove. however for some recipes, or some weeknights, it just isn’t in the cards. pasta sauce is one of those recipes i could go either way on buy vs. make.
for this particular recipe, i love the use of hot italian sausage. [yeah, ha. j loves to make sausage jokes whenever i say that. super mature.] i think the spiciness works well against any cheese you may garnish the dish with, and having gotten used to this particular version with red pepper, black pepper, and the spicy meat, any sauces made with ground beef now taste a bit bland to me.
this is also a great base sauce to customize any way you like.
| ingredients |
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 cup evoo
optional (for meat sauce): 1 package hot italian sausage
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
optional: 1/4 cup red wine (not necessary, but gives the sauce a different/more complex flavor. i like the little inexpensive bottles of cab sauv for this recipe)
optional: a couple leaves of basil, minced
optional for serving: parm cheese, basil and/or parsley
| method |
add the evoo to a dutch oven and head on medium-high heat. add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up as you do so.
lower the heat to medium, shove the meat to one side of the pan and add in the red pepper flakes, smashed garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a couple cracks of fresh black pepper. cook for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.
pour in the 2 cans of tomatoes, the red wine, oregano, and basil. stir everything together, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as you do so. let simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes, up to several hours, stirring occasionally. taste and add salt as needed.
to prepare pasta: bring salted water to a boil and prepare according to package directions. i pull the pasta and drain it just a couple minutes before it would be done, then add it back to a large pot with the sauce. i let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce on medium-low so that it absorbs some of the sauce. once the pasta has achieved your desired doneness, serve immediately garnished with parmesan cheese, basil and/or parsley.
sauce is good stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, and in the freezer for up to 3 months.