04 November 2008

Recipe: Easy, delicious pasta sauce

Sometimes I hate to cook. I admit it. We eat out more often than we should as a family and we are constantly trying to figure out ways to make tasty, simple meals in the easiest possible way, while cooking from scratch. I know that processed food is not great for us. So, for the most part, I've tried to get rid of processed shortcuts and use the real deal.
One processed product that I just will not give up, though, is jarred pasta sauce. I have tried to make my own from scratch and frankly, the work is too much. We generally buy Ragu on sale and I can get if for a few cents more than a can of similarly sized tomatoes. Ragu is pretty healthy, as processed foods go. But I will admit I don't like it straight from the jar. Here is how to doctor it up and make it really, really delicious. My mother taught me this secret which is to use wine. You boil the sauce so that the alcohol cooks out of it, but it will leave a wonderful flavor. I think one might be able to use white grape juice also, but I haven't tried it. I use the wine and it never fails to be delicious.
Delicious Pasta Sauce
1 lb bulk sausage
2 jars of pasta sauce -- I use Ragu Roasted Garlic and Mushroom and Sauteed Onion
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of red wine -- I usually use Chianti or Valpolicella
Brown the sausage in a large pot. Get it really brown. Drain the fat, if necessary.
Pour in some wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape up all the delicious brown stuff on the bottom. Pour the rest of the wine in and bring to a boil.
Pour in the jars of sauce and the cans of tomato.
Bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer for a few minutes, or as long as you like.
I also like to cook 2 boxes of pasta to use with this and my favorite pasta to us is Rigatoni or Ziti. Combined, this makes two round casserole dishes of pasta. The first night, we eat one and save leftovers for lunch the next day. I pour the rest of the pasta in the other, top with mozzarella and freeze it for some day in the future. On that day, I'll pull it out of the freezer, put it in the oven, covered, at 350 and let it cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly. It's wonderful and still involves a minimum of pots to clean.
There you go -- easy, peasy, delicious pasta sauce to make two-for-one pasta. That's the kind of cooking I can bear.


The Passarelli's said...

April! Someday we will talk about this when you feel like cooking sause for 2 days. Ragu has corn syrup in it! Try Hunts from the can. A way better tomatoe sause..


Italian Mike.

April said...

Oh, Mike... I feel embarrassed to have a real Italian read this! I promise, I really can make tomato sauce -- well, as well as a Scotch Irish girl from Illinois can do. This is just a shortcut. It's a shortcut I take too often, but you know... :)

Hey, I'm glad to know about Hunts though! That's a lot less expensive, too!

Why don't you post me a recipe sometime on your blog? I'd love to read how you do it.

The Passarelli's said...

Italian's have a hard time reading or writing down
recipes;-) We do everything by eye and taste.

I know you were making a quick sauce. I have done that also,but I never use anything with corn syrup.
I'm not sure about Ragu.Never used it! I love the Califorina tomatoe like Hunts.
I will try and we will see if you like it better.