Rustic Italian Pasta Sauce
2 Can diced tomatoes
1 Can plain tomato sauce
1 Small can of tomato paste
1 Large white onion, finely diced
3-4 Cloves garlic finely minced
1 Green pepper
1 Red pepper
2 Teaspoons black pepper or more
2 Teaspoons salt or more
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons basil
1-2 Tablespoons oregano
1 Teaspoon thyme
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Teaspoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons parsley
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1-2 Pounds ground beef
Plus if you want. . .
3 Stalks celery
4-6 white/button mushrooms
1-2 cups fresh spinach
OR 1/2 package frozen spinach
1/4 pound ground pork or sausage
2 Whole dried bay leaves (remove before serving, bay leaves stay hard and sharp and just aren't very nice to eat)
First get all the vegetables ready to go. First using the food processor with a blade attachment, pulse the onion and garlic until evenly minced. Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a really large stock pot and heat to medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and gently cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. While the onions and garlic are cooking, pulse the red and green pepper together and set aside in a medium bowl for later. If you are adding celery or carrots, add them to the bowl with the peppers. If you are adding spinach, broccoli, or mushrooms pulse them through the food processor all together and set aside until later.
By now the onions should have been cooking for about 10 minutes and should be a nice light golden brown color and are starting to release some nice smells. Season the pot with salt and pepper and add the ground beef, and if you are also adding pork or sausage add that as well.
Scramble cook everything together until the meat is no longer meat and a meat thermometer says it's safe. Add the bowl of minced peppers to the pot and scramble cook for about another 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes add any of the remaining vegetables you want, and then add the cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Stir to mix evenly.
Allow to come to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Season again with salt and pepper and add the basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, as well as the bay leaves if you are using them. Keep heat low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Taste the sauce and adjust as needed to taste.
Serve with pasta, or make a lasagna, or mix the sauce with about 4 cups cooked macaroni noodles, place in a casserole dish and top with shredded cheese and bake until hot and bubbly for a super easy and yummy casserole.
Also known as my one pot to cure everything! It is loaded with meat, and vegetables and is excellent as a sauce with hearty rotini noodles, or used to make lasagna, or a yummy tomato beef casserole. I call it my one pot to cure everything because of several reasons, first because I find that it works best when you make a giant pot of it and divide it up into a few portions to freeze and use in some different ways (curing hunger and "whats for dinner??" a couple times), second because I usually do end up putting any vegetable I have in the fridge, including but not limited to carrots, spinach, celery, mushrooms, extra peppers in the fridge, broccoli, and lentils (all the goodness!). Finally it is my one pot to cure everything because I like to believe that it has so much goodness in it from all the veg and love cooked into it that it can cure anything! Not really, but it is pretty healthy and up there with Nana's soup for making a cold winter night feel better.
I am going to list all the ingredients and the approximate amounts of each that I use but they are only a guideline. This is the kind of sauce that needs to be tasted and adjusted as you go to ensure the flavors are well blended and taste pleasing. So keep in mind if it too strong a flavor try adding extra basil or a bit of brown sugar to balance it, if the sauce is a little bland extra oregano, pepper, salt, and thyme can help brighten it up. I also incorporate all the vegetables by using a food processor with a blade to finely mince everything, so I will be including a food processor in my instructions, but if you don't have a food processor a really fine mince will also get the same results, or a standard chopped veg consistency will give a thicker chunkier sauce. The choice is up to you, I just happen to prefer a slightly smoother sauce.