Wednesday, January 19, 2011

what's cookin: Hardy Homemade Pasta Sauce

Growing up I remember both my parents making their own pasta sauce. What I remember most is the delicious smell of the sauce as it cooked for hours.  Although I grew up on homemade pasta sauce, I often purchase the jar sauce from the store because I was intimidated to make my own. 

Sometime last year my friend/coworker taught me how to make her homemade pasta sauce. It was then I realized that it really isn't hard to make, it just takes time. The longer it cooks, the more savory the flavor.
Over the holidays my family hosted B's family for dinner. Since I had the gift of time and needed to feed a big group (11 people total), I decided to make a big batch of homemade pasta sauce. Using aspects from the sauce I'd learned and a few recipes online, I came up with my own recipe. I was a little nervous trying something new with a big group, but it was a total success! It was so good in fact that I made another batch this past weekend for my mom's birthday party.  

As promised, I wanted to share my recipe. Don't be fooled by the name, its a hardy sauce but rather simple to make. 

Hardy Homemade Pasta Sauce
1 pound Italian sausage links (if you like spicy, I recommend using hot Italian sausage) 
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic 
1 32 oz can whole or diced tomatoes 
1 30 oz can tomato sauce *
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1. Remove casing from sausage links. In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Continually stir and use the spatula to break sausage into small pieces. Remove from heat and place in strainer. Run hot water over meat to remove the extra fat/grease. Set aside. 
2. In a large skillet, heat ground beef, olive oil, garlic and onion over medium heat until meat is nicely browned; drain and rinse (similar to end of step 1). 
3. In a large pot, pour in tomatoes and tomato sauce. Mix in salt, ground pepper, basil, oregano, bay leaf and the cooked meat. Simmer uncovered for (at least) 1 hour**, stirring occasionally. 
4. Remove bay leaf. Serve over spaghetti, ravioli, tortellini or whatever floats your boat. 

Pairs well with garlic bread and red wine. Enjoy! 

* Depending on your consistency preference, you may want to add more tomato sauce. When I made the recipe to service 11 people, I used an additional 15oz can tomato sauce.
** If cooking for several hours (for added deliciousness) be sure to add additional water or broth because liquid will cook off leaving your your sauce a little dry.

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