A staple every household needs to create quick, easy, and (possibly) healthy dinners
Nov 13, 2009
Growing up, I had pasta at least once a week. It was also served as a preliminary dish for EVERY holiday. What was before the turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving? Spaghetti. What did we eat before diving into lamb and potatoes on Easter? Ravioli. What came before ham on Christmas? Lasagna. It is an easy-to-prepare classic that no one could refuse. To this day, every time I get sick, my Dad tells me to eat some pasta, because the garlic and lycopene will "cure" me.
The secret to great pasta lies in the sauce. My parents made their own from an old, tried-and-true family recipe - they swore if anyone ever used Ragu or Prego jar sauce, THEIR parents would roll over. Italians are so weird.
We used to make HUGE batches of it and freeze the rest in individual tupperware containers. That way, if you decide you want pasta for dinner, on your way out the door to work in the morning you can let a container thaw all day, then simply heat it up at night with fresh pasta. 15 minutes or less to a delicious dinner!
My family's recipe is pretty basic, but the key is the bay leaf. I've heard of other familys using mint leaves. It's probably because both plants are in the same family, but both give tomato sauce an AWESOME flavor. Also, if you like meatballs, you HAVE to try the 3-meat blend. I haven't eaten meat in years but TRUST ME. You'll be happy with the purchase!
1lb of beef/pork/veal ground meat (this is a 3-meat mixture you can buy at the grocery store) Italian Breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs seasoned with spices) 1 egg 1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes 2 28oz cans of tomato sauce 1/2 of a green pepper, diced 5 cloves garlic, minced 3 links of sweet italian sausage 2 links of hot Italian sausage 2 Bay leaves (dried) Basil (a few dashes if you use dry, about 5 or so leaves if fresh is used) Italian seasoning (available in the spice aisle of grocery stores - use a dash) Salt & black pepper to your taste Parmesan cheese (optional)
Cook sausage in frying pan with oil until brown on all sides. Then slice in ¼” pieces. Combine ground meat with egg, salt and pepper, and mix until moist but not too dry or too wet. Slowly add in breadcrumbs until desired consistency is achieved, then form into balls about 1/2"-1" thick. Cook in frying pan with oil until brown on all sides. Set meatballs and sausage aside.
Process the whole peeled tomatoes in food processor, add them to a large pot with the 2 cans of tomato sauce. Add green pepper, garlic, meat, and all spices to the pot. Stir well.
Place lid on pot for about 1/2 hour, then tilt the lid so some steam can escape from the pot. Cook for about 1 to 2 hours more, stirring occasionally so that the sauce does not stick or burn on the bottom of the pot.
This makes us about 4 or 5 small containers.
**** If you want to get REALLY sinful, save the excess oil from the meat you fry and then add it to the other ingredients while it’s simmering on the stove. It’ll give you a boost of flavor…not to mention oil tastes really good in tomato sauce too.
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About the reviewer
Melissa Aquino (MelissaAq)
Born and raised in NJ, relocated to Boston, MA to study at Emerson College, transplanted to Hollywood, CA to get my career started on the fairer coast. I love hiking, eating new … more
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Marinara sauce (Italian salsa marinara or salsa alla marinara) is a type of tomato sauce that originated in Naples after the Spaniards had introduced the tomato from the New World. The word marinara is derived from marinaro, which is Italian for "of the sea".
Marinara sauce in Italy and some other Mediterranean countries is commonly used with various pasta dishes including spaghetti, penne and fusilli. The base for the sauce is made from olive oil, ripe tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.