2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil or whatever vegetable oil you use
3 to 4 lbs. low fat ground beef (more is OK)
1 lb. Jimmy Dean’s HOT sausage
3 or 4 large onions, chopped fine (more is OK)
4 ribs of celery, chopped fine
2 or 3 carrots, chopped fine or equivalent amount of shredded or carrot sticks, chopped
1 green bell20pepper, seeded and diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine or equivalent in prepared chopped garlic (more is OK)
1 cup of red or white wine (drinking wine, not cooking wine. I use Chablis. And yes,
more is OK)
3 large (29 oz.) cans of tomato sauce or equivalent in small cans
1 large (10 oz.) can of diced tomatoes & green chilies
4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, cut into 8 or 12 pieces, or a large can of diced tomatoes. I prefer
to use the Roma tomatoes. When they are cooked down, it’s time to thicken.
1 large (12 oz.) can (you may need 2 cans) of tomato paste
1 or 2 cans of sliced mushrooms or sliced pieces and stems (optional)
Seasonings, somewhat subject to your individual tastes, but here’s about what I use:
5 or 6 whole bay leaves
2 tablespoons of dried parsley
3 tablespoons of dried basil
1 to 2 tablespoons of dried orega no
1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Sugar to taste when it is finished simmering (I use maybe 1 or 2 tablespoons, depending on the tartness of the tomatoes and sauce when finished)
And when you finish it and taste it, you may want to add a “little bit” of cayenne pepper if you want it to be a little bit spicier. Use about half as much as you think you need, because it will be hotter than you expect, and the younger kids may not tolerate it well.
A large pot with cover, preferably with a heavy bottom like Magnalite.
• Spray the pot with PAM or other cooking spray and wipe over the pan’s inner surfaces with a paper towel. Place the pan over medium-high heat and let it get hot for about 1 minute.
• Add the olive oil or vegetable oil and the ground meat a nd JD sausage. Brown the meat, breaking it up well and stirring to be sure it mixes well and doesn’t burn. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the meat is browned, turn off the heat or remove the pan and transfer the meat to a plate (paper plate) with a folded paper towel in it to drain the meat.
• Return the pan to the heat, add a little oil if necessary, and add the chopped onions, celery, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic. Sautee until nearly done.
• Return the meat to the pan, and stir well to bring back to temperature.
• Add the wine. Maybe add a little more.
• Add the tomato sauce, diced tomato and green chilies, and Roma tomato pieces. Add the spices, stirring well. Try not to break up the bay leaves.
• Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Stir every 10 or 15 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. Cover the pan loosely to allow most of the water vapor to escape but keep in the heat. Note: if it is too hot, it will pop over o n your stove.
• After about 2 hours, the sauce will be cooked down, and ready for thickening. You can tell by looking for the Roma tomato pieces. If they are cooked in and you can’t find them, it’s ready.
• If you want to use mushrooms, you can add them now or after you add the tomato paste.
• Add the can of tomato paste. Stir in well. If it’s not thick enough, add another can. If you can’t tell if it’s thick enough, add another can. Stir in well. When and if you see a bay leaf, remove it.
• Let it simmer another 5 or 10 minutes. Taste the sauce. (I put a spoonful on a slice of white bread and taste it) Depending on the tartness, add sugar to taste until it’s no longer tart. Add salt and pepper to taste at this time. If it needs more of a spice kick , add a SMALL amount of cayenne pepper. Cook a few minutes more and taste again. If it’s good, turn off the heat and let it cool unless you are ready to serve. Re-heat when ready to serve over fresh hot pasta. Enjoy.
Jim Breard, Slidell, LA.