Some of you know that Jason's Mom, Cheryl, is from a big Italian family. Growing up Jason loved her homemade spaghetti sauce-- made from scratch for a big, Italian family dinner every Sunday night. Jason took his Mom's recipe years ago and made it his own and it's the only sauce we eat in our house. He doesn't work from a recipe so I had to follow him around the kitchen last Sunday to write down everything he did. The great thing about a recipe like this is that you can modify it to suit your tastes... so have fun and start your own "Italian Family Dinner" tradition. Sauce can be served over spaghetti, ravoli, used in lasagna, whatever you like! Made from scratch sauce takes awhile, so plan for about an hour of prep time, but the result is well worth the time and effort and you'll have a lot left over! I mean a lot! And don't forget the garlic bread!
2 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes (we like Cento)
salt and pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
dried basil, oregano, thyme, italian seasoning (to taste)
1/2 yellow onion (chopped)
3 cloves of fresh garlic (minced)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 package of Italian sausage (approx. 5 - 6 sausages)
1 pound lean ground beef*
3/4 pound ground turkey meat*
approx. 3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 small cans of tomato paste (Contadina brand is good)
1 cup nice red wine
Start by chopping the onion and mincing the garlic and set aside. Open the cans of peeled tomatoes. Blend each can individually in a blender and then place in stock pot. Add salt, pepper and dry spices.
Combine the ground beef and turkey (*You can use all ground beef instead, we just try to make it a little healthier!) with the Italian bread crumbs and eggs in a large bowl. Form 2 - 2 1/2" meatballs (should make approx. 10 - 12 meatballs) and set aside.
Coat the bottom of a large saute pan with EVOO and heat to medium high. Cook the onion and garlic in the oil and remove to the sauce pot. Using the same pan (add more EVOO if needed) brown and cut up the Italian sausage. When cooked about 3/4 of the way through, remove to sauce pot. After cooking the sausage, use the pan to brown the meatballs (again adding oil if needed). If you have time to let your sauce simmer (which we recommend) you can cook the meatballs for less time and let them cook in with the sauce. When the meatballs are browned remove to sauce pot.
In the same saute pan, cook the tomato paste on high heat continually moving the paste around the pan being sure it doesn't burn or stick to the bottom. Add 1/2 cup of red wine and let it reduce into the tomato paste. The paste will thicken a bit and turn very dark red when it's done. Remove to sauce pot.
Stir all ingredients into sauce pot and add more dry spices and salt and pepper (if desired). Simmer on low heat for at least an hour for best results.
Serve over your favorite pasta... and Mangi!