tomato sauce (plus lasagna)

by ALLISSA on April 26, 2011

Tomato Sauce

I’ve long been enamored with the idea of making my own tomato sauce, but I only recently got serious about finding a quality recipe. I’m tired of store-bought jars of pasta sauce. It’s quick and easy and cheap, but I always feel a little bit like a cheater when I make an Italian dish with store-bought sauce. So I set out a few weeks ago to find a good recipe. Luckily, my sister-in-law, who makes pumpkin rolls and something called monkey cake, was able to help. She wound up sending me two slow cook-based recipes and I chose the one with more ingredients (think red onions, green peppers and diced celery) and a lengthy cook time.

Now, let me just say, I’d prefer to use fresh tomatoes. I can’t wait for the heat of the summer to soak into the patio tomatoes I’m planning to grow this year. But, as you know, it’s April and this is the Northeast and the best I can do is buy tomatoes from the grocery store. So that’s what I did. And, let me also say, what I wound up making looks and smells a whole lot like chili. I could literally put it in a bowl and eat it as a meal, if I wanted, which I didn’t because I was planning to spread it between layers of the four-layer lasagna I’d been dreaming about for weeks.

Green Pepper

Coarsely Diced Sundried Tomatoes

Sauteing Sausage and Peppers

Lasagna with Tomato Sauce

You know what? It worked, even if it was a bit chunkier than I’d imagined. It’s an incredibly sweet sauce and it would probably do well with better ground sausage. Now I know for next time. Let me know if you have any tomato or spaghetti sauce recipes you’d like to share. I’d like to keep tweaking recipes and using fresh vegetables and, if I can, avoid the spaghetti sauce aisle at the grocery store.

Lasagna with Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

(adapted from a family recipe)

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cans (14 1/2 ounces) of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (6 ounces) of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (Note: make sure the sun-dried tomatoes aren’t packed in oil.)
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Directions:
  1. Cook sausage, beef, onion, pepper, celery and garlic in olive oil until the meat is brown and the vegetables are tender.
  2. Drain excess fat.
  3. Pour remaining ingredients into slow cooker and mix.
  4. Add the meat mixture and stir well.
  5. Cover and cook on low for eight to 10 hours.
  6. Remove bay leaf.

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