Back when I used to live closer to campus, we had another straight roommate live with us, if you guys can remember. His name was Steve, and every once in a while he would concoct a delicious red sauce from scratch, and ever since I’ve wanted to try making it myself. This isn’t the recipe that he followed especially since there’s meat in this one, but I found a recipe online and tweaked it a bit and I’m incredibly happy with the results.
So here’s what you need: 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 a yellow onion, 1 red pepper, 1 package of sliced baby bella mushrooms, 3-4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper (I usually have it freshly ground), 2 28oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes, 2 8oz cans of Conchita tomato sauce (Conchita is amazing), 4 tsp of tomato paste, 1/2 tsp of sugar, and two packs of hot/mild/italian sausage (I did hot for this recipe and it was amazing).
First thing you want to do is brown your sausage. This should be relatively easy and quick and once you’re done drain away the grease and set the sausage aside, you won’t need it for a while.
Next go ahead and chop up your onion and red pepper and mince your garlic. For this particular recipe I chose 4 large cloves because I adore garlic, but anywhere from 3-4 should be fine. Also, open your package of mushrooms and make sure to run them under water a few times to rinse off any grime that may be on them.
Once everything is chopped up, warm the olive oil til fragrant in a pot/Dutch oven (I used a Dutch oven for this recipe because the heat remains constant throughout better than a metal pot, so be conscientious of the temperature). Once you can smell the olive oil, add the garlic for about a minute, giving it a quick stir, then add the onions, red peppers, and mushrooms to the mix. Stir to make sure all are evenly coated in the oil (add more if you need to) and then start adding the salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. I tend to be a bit liberal with spices, so don’t fret if you add more than you should. Stir again to make sure everything is combined throughout and cook until the vegetables are soft (about 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat).
While the vegetables are cooking, open up both cans of whole peeled tomatoes and pour them into a separate bowl keeping the juice (careful, they may splash). With a large spoon or something similar, crush the tomatoes into smaller pieces, about the size of a quarter each or however large you would like your tomato chunks to be in your sauce.
Once the vegetables are done cooking, pour in the crushed tomatoes along with the two cans of tomato sauce, 1 cup of water, the tomato paste, and the sugar. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once the simmer is attained, decrease the heat and continue simmering for about 20 minutes, stirring often with a heavy wooden spoon.
After 20 minutes of simmering, carefully add the sausage into the sauce and increase the temperature to medium-high in order to attain the simmer again. Make sure to stir thoroughly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes stirring with the same wooden spoon. Here would be a good time to adjust the spice according to taste.
Before the last 20 minutes are up, make sure to boil some pasta you wish to eat with your sauce (for this recipe I chose penne pasta). Once the 20 minutes are up, turn off the burner and your sauce should be ready to serve! This serves 4-6 people. Enjoy!