Tomato and Basil are soul-mates. Winter, Summer… no matter the season, they’re the perfect couple- and my favorite flavor combination.
Okay fine, twist my arm. I’ll also add to that combination some toasted bread and a plate of olive oil & balsamic topped with salt and pepper. And if you insist… a generous pour of Cabernet Sauvignon. (Or to experience this dinner like a real Italian, I’ll splurge for a bottle of Montepulciano. But shh.. don’t tell my husband. As far as he knows, it’s just another bottle of bitter red wine).
And to keep Griff happy and patiently waiting for me to yell “dinner’s ready!” his chilled glass of Kim Crawford’s Sauv Blanc just met him on the couch. My husband is such a hard worker (and sweetheart)- always helping me in the kitchen, running to Kroger at the last minute for that one ingredient I forgot to get… even brings me coffee in bed every morning, AND does all of our laundry! (trained him well). So some nights when I cook, I force him to go relax in the living room with Kim (Crawford that is) and not lift a finger. And that way he doesn’t realize it’s after 7 and he still hasn’t eaten dinner. ;)
The great thing about this red sauce is that it’s fail proof. Which is exactly what I need when I’m in a hurry to whip up dinner after a day commuting to the office in Indy. Another great thing- the leftovers freeze and heat back up perfectly! (a great bonus when cooking for two).
I usually make a double recipe of this- eat it with spaghetti one night- then freeze the rest to use as sauce for homemade pizzas another night.
- 1 Can (28 oz.) Crushed Tomatoes (For a chunkier sauce, use Diced Tomatoes- or fresh if in season!)
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can substitute with Coconut or Avocado Oil)
- 1 Medium Onion, diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. Salt, coarse
- ½ tsp. Ground Pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped (or ½ tsp. dried Parsley)
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano, chopped (or ½ tsp. dried Oregano)
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried Basil)
- 1 Bay Leaf (optional if you want a milder taste)
- 1 Tbsp sugar (*exclude for Whole30 compliance)
- *optional: Parmesan Cheese to grate on each person's plate
- * To make this sauce into a meat marinara sauce, you'll also need the following:
- 1- 8oz. can Crushed Tomatoes (set aside for the end)
- ½ medium Onion, chopped
- ½ lb. lean Grass-fed Beef
- ½ lb. lean Turkey Sausage (I like Tennesee Pride uncooked patties)
- 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- 2 tsp. dried Basil
- ½ tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Pepper
- *optional: ⅛ cup dry red wine
- In a large skillet, heat the oil (olive, coconut or avocado) over medium heat. Add the onion and saute appx. 5 minutes, stirring very frequently, until onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the salt, pepper, and mined garlic and saute for another 3-5 minutes. The onions should be carmelized and sweetened at this point.
- Then add the can of tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Once sauce has cooked, remove the bay leaf. Then stir in the sugar (skip this step for Whole30 compliance).
- Taste the sauce and add more spices as needed. I usually throw in more fresh basil after the sauce has cooked. *(For a spicier sauce you can increase the black pepper, or for a real kick add red pepper flakes... but beware it only takes a few red pepper flakes to make it hot!!)
- In another large skillet, saute onion until translucent. Add the beef and turkey sausage.
- Once meat is browned, add minced garlic cloves and cook a few more minutes.
- Add the seasonings/spices and cook until meat is fully cooked.
- Scrape meat mixture into the Marinara Sauce.
- Deglaze meat pan by adding a little bit (~1/4 Cup) water to the pan, lifting up the juices and flavors cooked into the pan. Pour this mixture into the marinara sauce.
- Add the 8oz. can of tomato sauce.
- Taste it! Add more salt, pepper, seasoning if needed.
- *optional: Add ⅛ cup. dark red wine for a richer taste. Sometimes I taste my sauce and feel it needs this, other times i think it's just right with out it! Your preference!