From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories: Recipes to Warm the Heart
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3½ - 4 hours
Serves 12-15 (freezes well in freezer baggies – I put 1-2 cups per bag for an instant dinner)
1 large head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
2 green peppers, seeded and quartered
3 large onions
½ lb/225 g mushrooms
⅔ cup olive oil
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 large tin tomato paste (13 oz/369 ml)
½ tsp allspice
6 bay leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves chopped (2 tbsp dried)
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped (1 tbsp dried)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (1 tsp dried)
1 tsp crushed red chili peppers
2 lbs/900g ground beef (optional)**
¼ cup red wine, (optional)
2 large tins tomatoes (28oz/796 ml)
1. 1. Drop garlic through feed tube of food processor and pulse. Process celery, green peppers, onions and mushrooms separately in food processor or finely chop by hand.
2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven* and add the vegetable mixture and cook over medium heat for approx. 15 minutes until mixture is limp, stirring frequently.
3. Add tomato paste, spices, sugar (and wine) and stir for 2 minutes.
4. If making meat sauce, sauté ground beef in a separate nonstick pan until it is cooked (no longer pink – 5-10 minutes/lb)**. Strain off excess fat and add the meat to the sauce.
5. Add tomatoes. I personally like to puree them before adding to sauce, but the original recipe was to leave them whole and break them up during cooking. Cook slowly on medium-low heat for 3-3½ hours covered. Remove bay leaves after 2 hours. Taste for seasoning and serve over your favorite pasta.
Tips & Variations
**Sautéing meat takes about 10-15 minutes – 5-7 minutes per pound of ground meat – but it’s worth it, I promise.
This recipe tastes best the next day and also freezes well. 1-2 ladles of sauce per serving.
I usually put 3 ladles in a zip lock baggie for two servings, but it all depends on how much sauce to pasta you prefer. The “experts” suggest more pasta than sauce, but for this recipe in particular, I love lots of sauce.