I've been making red sauce my whole life, and I'm pretty sure I've never written (typed) out the recipe. Well, I was asked for my recipe today, and since that is usually the way I wind up even thinking in terms of "recipe", here we go.
I wish I had thought ahead and taken photos of each step. For this one, we'll have to settle for a shot during cooking and once during serving. I'll try to get better about that. Thanks for bearing with me and this learn-as-I-go thing.
This recipe fills my largest sauce pot about 3/4 full, so make sure you've got a hefty-sized one before you start. And make sure it has an insulated bottom; you do NOT want to scorch this to the bottom of the pot.
1 and 1/2 pods of fresh garlic, peeled.
1 TB Italian seasonings
2 TB Italian spaghetti seasonings (if available)
1 tsp. basil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
3-5 TB olive oil
3 lbs. lean ground beef
2-3 lbs. sweet Italian sausage
1 can (105oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (105oz.) tomato puree
1 can (105oz.) crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup sugar
First, I get Steve to crush (because I like being able to use my hands for the rest of the day) about a pod and a half of garlic (yes, that much--trust me and go with it). Put the crushed garlic into a small non-stick saucepan with the olive oil and seasonings and heat on low to blend flavors. Make sure it doesn't cook too fast--just simmer.
While the garlic stuff is simmering and smelling your house up like mad, brown the ground beef and sausage (add in a tad more olive oil if needed to keep it from sticking). I cut my Italian sausage out of the casing and smash it up with the ground beef, but you can cut it up with the casings if you prefer.
After the meat is completely done, add the garlic stuff and prepare to have your smeller assailed again. You'll be good and ravenous by the time this concoction is done. Stir it in, cover, and let it simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. If your windows are open, this will be about the time neighbors, joggers, and the feller on the other side of the river stop by to ask what smells so good. Don't be too alarmed. It's your fault for harboring a taste of Heaven on your stove top.
At this point you remove the lid, nearly pass out from the aroma, and pour in the contents of the three gargantuan cans (I get them at Sam's Club at great prices). Add the sugar (this smooths out the flavor by toning down the acidity in the tomatoes) and stir the whole lovely mess until well blended.
Simmer on low heat, stirring often to keep it from sticking, for as much of the day as you need until dinner. You could serve it after about an hour, but a few hours only blends the flavors more. Leftovers are better still.
Serve over your favorite pasta, with garlic knots or bread sticks, topped with Parmesan cheese if you like. Just make sure nobody loosened the top on the cheese like one of our sons did to the other once. To this day the boy has to put a mountain of cheese on top to duplicate the great taste that happened that day.
Share with your neighbors (I wasn't joking about that--it's a neat thing to do) and tell God how grateful you are for such a good gift.