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Meaty Marinara Sauce

I started making this sauce when the Prego jar sauce that I had always used was discontinued.  I tried a few others, but they all had chunks of tomatoes in them.  The horror!  Remember, I have to trick myself into eating food of substance – so I can eat a sauce made out of tomatoes, but I can’t actually see them.  For those of you with difficult children, you’ll understand.

This recipe is a riff off of my dad’s recipe… he always uses hot italian sausage and ground beef in his meat sauce.  I just use hot italian TURKEY sausage instead, and add pepperoni.  So I make it healthier, and then cancel that out.

Pardon my level of detail in this recipe. I am trying to help take the guess work out a bit 😉

INGREDIENTS — it looks like a lot but you probably have most of the spices on a spice rack:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 link hot italian turkey sausage (If you can’t find the turkey kind, just use the regular kind…. or if you don’t like spicy food, you can either get mild sausage or leave out)
  • about 10 pepperonis or so (more or less, depending on how much you like pepperoni.  You can omit this entirely if you don’t like pepperoni.  But I don’t understand you, in a general sense)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 4-6 garlic gloves (or more), depending on your affinity for garlic.
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce (plain jane tomato sauce, with nothing added to it)
  • 1 little can of tomato paste (see photo)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning (this is actually just really a mix of the above seasonings…so you could just add a little more of each if you don’t have this)
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (if you like a little spicy)
  • couple of shakes of regular pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar — it adds to the sweetness of the tomatoes
  • 1 box (pound) of spaghetti noodles of some sort (I used fettucini this time)

DSC_0172

RECIPE:

  • pre-heat the pan you are cooking with
  • Start a pot of water on high heat to get it ready to boil when you need it to be ready…this always takes longer than you think
  • when the pan for the sauce is hot, add in the tablespoon of olive oil and swirl around the pan
  • brown the sausage and turkey up together, using a wooden spoon (or whatever utensil) to break up the meat… then add in the ground beef and cook all together
  • once the meat is thoroughly browned and cooked through, use a cheese grater to grate the garlic into the meat and let it cook together for a minute or two. If you do not have a cheese grater, you can finely mince the garlic, or use prepared garlic.  Only use a couple of teaspoons if you use the prepared garlic
  • add in the seasonings and stir around with the meat and garlic for about a minute, to kind of toast them up
  • add entire can of tomato paste to the mixture.  Stir around for 1-2 minutes to wake the paste back up and equally distribute it amongst the meat and seasoning. (Otherwise, you’ll have random chunks of tomato paste in your sauce)
  • add in entire can of tomato sauce
  • (Optional: add in a handful of parmesan cheese, if you like your sauce to be a little on the cheesy side)
  • Cook on medium low for at least 20 minutes… the longer you cook it, the more flavorful it becomes*
  • While it’s cooking, cook your 1 pound of pasta on the side.  I always add at least a tablespoon of salt to the water, because it’s the only chance you have to season the pasta itself.
  • Strain the pasta, combine it with the sauce… and garnish with whatever you’d like.  I used fresh basil and parmesan cheese to garnish this time.
  • Cook up some form of bread on the side, cuz it will be helpful in mopping up the sauce at the end of the meal 🙂  I’ll post my garlic cheesy ciabatta bread one of these days!

*If the sauce starts to look thicker than you’d like, just add in a little bit of water and stir around and let it heat all the way through.

Here are some photos for reference:

The italian sausage and pepperoni browning up together

The italian sausage and pepperoni browning up together

Once the entire meat mixture is browned, then you add the garlic, the seasoning, and the tomato paste

Once the entire meat mixture is browned, then you add the garlic, the seasoning, and the tomato paste

how it should look when the tomato paste is distributed

how it should look when the tomato paste is distributed

after everything is all combined, let this guy cook out for a while on medium-low

after everything is all combined, let this guy cook out for a while on medium-low

and finally…

boom.

boom.

I hope you enjoy this meaty marinara madness as much as I do!  Leftover sauce freezes beautifully too.

Enjoy!

t

xo, tess

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