When I was a kid and my Mom asked me what I wanted for dinner on my birthday, I’d always ask for spaghetti. She’d suggest a few other options, but I always rolled it back to my heart’s desire: spaghetti pasta with red sauce and meat. Meatballs were fine, but not essential. If you asked me today what is my favorite food, I’d say there are two. Spaghetti, and spaghetti. When listing favorites, there are no other options for me. Who can resist a tomatoey sauce bursting with flavor from long-simmering meats, aromatics such as garlic and onion, and Italian herbs? It’s the best comfort food in the world. This recipe can be prepared on the stovetop or in a crockpot, once the browning steps have been completed. So pull out your big pot, and belt out your best Dean Martin version of That’s Amore. It’s guaranteed to put you in the mood.
Spaghetti Sauce with Italian Sausage Recipe
2 small onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 lb sweet ground Italian sausage
1 lb hot ground Italian sausage
1 lb ground pork
1 – 28 oz can tomato sauce
2 – 28 oz cans chunky tomato sauce
1 – 12 oz can tomato purée
2 cups Pinot Noir, or other dry red wine
2 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp ground fennel
2 bay leaves
spaghetti (amount depends on how many you’ll be serving)
Brown meats in large pot over medium high heat, breaking into small pieces. Add onion and garlic and continue to cook until aromatics are golden but not browned. Add wine and increase heat so mixture comes to a boil. Scrape up browned bits from pot bottom.
If you prefer to use a crockpot, transfer meat mixture to pot at this point.
Lower heat to medium and add all tomato products. Add spices and bay leaves, stirring well to incorporate into sauce. Increase heat to medium high and bring to boil. Reduce to low simmer, cover pot, and cook for at least four hours, or if using crockpot, on low heat setting for up to 8 hours. Stir sauce frequently, loosening any bits that become stuck to the bottom of pot. If sauce is bubbling too much, it may be necessary to use a simmer plate.
Prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1-2 T olive oil to prevent sticking.
Serve in warmed shallow bowls. Mangia!
Like Emily says, cue up Dean Martin and find your cork screw, Wine Two Five wine guru Stephanie Davis suggests. Here’s where you get out of your comfort zone and things get interesting. Stephanie recommends trying this classic dish with a red wine made from the Lagrein Grape that’s found in Alto Adige in northeastern Italy. The wine by Elena Walch is balanced with fruitiness, earthiness, and intensity. Enjoy the long finish of both the wine and the sauce. Oh, and Stephanie adds these wise words: “Mangia! Mangia!”
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.