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Saturday, July 21, 2012

JWo's Super Awesome Spaghetti Sauce

Hello everyone! Let me start today's post with a moment of silence for the victims and families affected by the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting.

Today's post is going to be a recipe of my infamous spaghetti sauce. I've made this sauce for about 6 years now for many friends and family and they LOVE it. I've had people request it even though I haven't seen them in years.

The problem with me and recipe blog posts is that I am a cook. Not a baker. For those of you that are confused, cooks don't measure ingredients, but bakers do. I NEVER measure anything. I just throw in about how much I think it needs and hope to God that it tastes good. So far, I haven't messed up......... much.

Also, another problem is that about every time I make this spaghetti sauce it tastes different because I add different spices every time. I actually don't remember what the real recipe is so..... yeah. So, today I am going to make the basic sauce! Let's begin!

Get your supplies ready:

- 1 pound of ground sausage (I always use HOT because it adds lots of flavor, if vegetarian, you can opt out of the meat)
- 29 ounce can of tomato puree (can get any size, I like large cans so I can make LOTS at once)
- 2 cloves of garlic - MINCED
- 1/2 a medium onion - DICED (can use yellow, white, or red - doesn't matter)
- 1-2 fresh tomatoes - DICED (OR 1 small/normal sized can of diced tomatoes)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (can use fresh chopped basil as well - just increase the amount)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley (can use fresh as well)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano (I was actually out of oregano, oh well)
- DASH of salt and pepper
- PINCH of white sugar (not shown in photo)

At this point, I usually have a large stock pot 2/3 full of water set to boil on the stove for the pasta. That usually takes forever so I take that time to start prepping. First, I mince the garlic and dice 1/2 the onion.

Then, I dice the tomatoes.

I set the tomatoes, garlic, and onion aside in their separate prep bowls and proceed to browning the ground sausage.

The good thing about sausage is that it is NOT as fat as ground beef and plus it already comes seasoned!!! The reason I use pork is because the very FIRST time I ever made this sauce, there was not any ground beef in the house. My dad and brother really liked it with pork too. After the pork is browned, add the onions and garlic and saute.

Add in the sauce.

Add in the diced tomatoes.

OPTIONAL. At this point, my pasta is done cooking and before draining it, I put in 1 cup of the cooked pasta water. I've seen this on Food Network and it adds a subtle saltiness/pasta-y taste to the sauce and thins out the sauce some. (I like semi-chunky sauces.)

Then add in the basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.

At this time, I add a pinch of white sugar to lessen the acidity of the tomato. This also helps make the sauce taste "smoother." 

Behold, the crappy pic of adding sugar. It is quite difficult to capture adding sugar since it dissolves into the sauce upon impact.

This isn't the main sauce. My vegetarian friend was over and I made a separate vegetarian-friendly sauce.
Stir everything together and let it simmer on medium heat for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors infuse. Stirring occassionally.

When 5-10 minutes have passed, add cooked pasta to plate and ladle the sauce on top! Enjoy!

Non-vegetarian pasta & sauce

Vegetarian-friendly pasta & sauce

Here are some notes/comments I would like to add to this recipe:

- This is a VERY basic recipe. I usually add LOTS more stuff. Options are:
  • Diced celery
  • Freshly chopped cilantro
  • Dash of hot sauce or Sriracha hot sauce
  • Fresh veggies such as zucchini or squash for a summer sauce or chopped mushrooms
  • Sprinkle some shredded Parmesan, mozzarella, or any other fancy cheeses (I would NOT recommend cheddar or bleu cheese - too sharp of a taste)
  • May substitute ground sausage with ground turkey (or even beef if you like an original sauce - just remember to season/marinate it beforehand for more flavor)
  • Use your imagination!

- To make the pasta more flavorful (and less sticky), add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pasta IMMEDIATELY after draining and stir to coat the pasta.
- The vegetarian sauce has a very nice tomato-y taste! Nice and light! :)

If you have any other additions, comments, or questions you'd like to add, feel free to leave it below! Thanks for reading!

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