Homemade Pasta Sauce

I learned how to make this when I read How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson (no, that’s not Pamela Anderson…) several months ago. After I read the recipe, I realized that’s basically what I did with store-bought sauce. I never used it straight from the jar; I always doctored it up. I also realized it’s cheaper to buy crushed tomatoes and tweak it than to buy name-brand sauce and tweak it, too.

I do adjust it according to what ingredients I have on hand, but it’s basically the same.

Meat Sauce
1 medium onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced, optional
1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage (removed from casings)
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, pressed
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered, optional
Italian seasoning to taste
* brown sugar to taste, optional
salt and pepper

Brown onion, bell pepper, and meat in large saucepan until cooked through. Drain grease, but leave some in the pan – say whatever sticks to the bottom and sides. (You need some fat or your sauce will have a bland, tomatoey taste.)

Return meat mixture to pan and add crushed tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, and seasonings.

* Add brown sugar to taste. (Since we like a sweet sauce, I usually add a small handful, let it simmer a few minutes, then taste to see if I need more. If you’re using Italian sausage in your sauce, don’t add as much brown sugar since the sausage adds some sweetness. If you like a zestier sauce, omit the brown sugar.)

Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot pasta.

Meatless Sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced, optional
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, pressed
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered, optional
Italian seasoning to taste
* brown sugar to taste, optional
salt and pepper

Saute onion and pepper in oil for 2-3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, seasonings, and brown sugar (optional). Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot pasta.

** If you like a spicier sauce, you can add 1/4 tsp. (or more, depending on taste) of red pepper flakes.

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One thought on “Homemade Pasta Sauce

  1. Pingback: Menu Plan: April 30 « Chapter Four

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