Who doesn’t love a good pasta sauce?!? Sure you can buy the jarred type, but if you’re trying to be health conscious, it’s hard to gauge exactly what goes in that stuff. When you make your own, you know exactly what is in it and you can control the fat and salt content. Not to mention, homemade sauce tastes SOOOOO much better and it’s really not that hard to make! Totally worth the time investment! This recipe can be made, heated through and served for a quick sauce or for some really great flavor you can cook it low and slow for a few hours or most of the day.
This sauce can be made vegetarian or you can make meat sauce and you can use the sauce in a variety of ways; spaghetti, lasagna, rigatoni, chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, etc. Another thing I love about homemade sauce is it freezes really well, so you can make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for a future meal.
Optional: Sweet or Hot Italian Turkey Sausage
½ Red Onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
28 oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes in Puree (I highly recommend using San Marzano tomatoes!!! They cost more, but the flavor is AMAZING!!!)
8 oz Can Tomato Sauce
6 oz Can of Tomato Paste
6 Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 packets of Stevia or other artificial sweetener
3 tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
1 tsp Dried Oregano
¾ tsp Cumin
½ tsp Crushed Red Peppers
Optional: ½-3/4 cup Red Wine
Optional: 1 cup Mushrooms (I like baby bellas)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
I usually cook this sauce in my Dutch oven on the stove, but you could also use a non-stick sauce pot or even cook it in your slow cooker. The first thing you want to do is spray your pan with some olive oil. If you’re adding meat, brown your meat over medium-high heat. When almost cooked, add the onion and garlic and continue cooking until meat is cooked through and onions are translucent. Don’t burn your garlic! Now here comes the easy part! Pour everything else in the pot! Now you can just heat it through and serve for a quick meal or you can really make this something special and cook this sauce low and slow. My personal preference is to bring it just to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for several hours. You can really let it simmer as long as you like; all day to 1 hour. Like any dish you make, you should taste periodically and adjust, adding a little more of this or a little more of that. It’s better to do it slowly. You can always add more of something, but once you overdo it on any particular ingredient it’s done!
Tip: Don’t have Italian sausage, but want that flavor in your dish? Use plain ground turkey or ground beef and add dried fennel seeds. That one little ingredient will give you that Italian sausage taste!
Another tip: Trying to sneak some veggies to your kids or picky eaters? Use a vegetable peeler to peel some carrots. Throw away the outer skin peelings, but take some fresh carrot peelings, dice them up a little more and add them to your sauce. Also, if you want to add mushrooms, I’ve found that if I dice them up smaller my kids don’t seem to notice them. And mushrooms are so great for you!!!