We love meat sauce specifically made with sausage for it’s robust flavor (especially if you opt for hot). It’s the sauce you can use for a big Sunday meal when you have the whole family together. It’s perfect for thick pasta like fettuccine or pappardelle or for short pasta like penne or shells. The sauce adheres to each strand or collects in the small pasta shapes for flavor in every bite. There are many ways to make meat sauce but in this variation we use sausage. We always rely on this version when making polenta for Carnevale where pork is the go-to ingredient for an indulgent sauce.
Note: For thicker sauce you can use 1 part peeled tomatoes and 1 part pureed tomatoes or just pureed. I use Cento, but all of the major brands carry both peeled and pureed tomatoes. Of course if you want even thicker sauce, my mom swears by tomato paste. It comes in easy to store tubes now so you don’t have to commit to using an entire can or throwing most of it away. You can just use what you need.
- 1/4 of a large yellow/sweet onion, chopped
- 2-3 links of hot or sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing and roughly chopped
- 1 can (28 oz) peeled san marzano tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed & peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- Basil, torn by hand
- Coat a large deep-sided saute pan with olive oil.
- Heat olive oil and then saute garlic and bay leaf until the garlic is golden in color, then discard the garlic.
- Saute the onions for about 1 minute until they begin to soften.
- Add the chopped sausage to the onions and saute until the sausage becomes lightly brown on all sides.
- Add crushed red pepper to taste, if desired.
- Add the chopped tomato and water and stir to incorporate all ingredients.
- Add salt to taste.
- Once the sauce comes to a low boil, lower the heat to simmer and loosely cover.
- Let the sauce cook for about an hour.
- Remove bay leaf before serving.
- Add basil.
- Serve this delicious sauce over pasta or polenta. You can also use it in lasagna or baked pasta dishes.