This is a big, brassy American pasta sauce that has nothing much to do with authentic, more subtle Neopolitan ragú sauces. It’s more of a tomato sauce stew of Italian ingredients that I like. I make more authentic sauces when I have the fresh ingredients (especially in tomato and basil season in August), but this family spaghetti dinner sauce tastes great, is easy to assemble, and freezes very well. I make a large batch and then freeze the leftovers in quart containers for quick weeknight meals.
- 1 28 ounce can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes
- 3 28 ounce can of Muir Glen whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 6 ounce cans of Muir Glen tomato paste
- 12 lightly-grilled sweet or hot Italian sausages (I use hot)
- 1 dozen white “stuffing” (large) mushrooms, whole
- 2 sticks (10 ounces) Margherita pepperoni, thick-sliced diagonally
- 2 cups rough-chopped fresh basil
- 2 medium-sized green or red sweet peppers (I use green), chopped into pieces about 1 inch (2.4cm) square
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons of dried oregano
- 1 scant tablespoon of Kosher salt
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 14 ounce (400 g ) cans of Sclafani artichoke hearts, quartered
- Assemble all ingredients except the artichoke hearts into a large (2 gallon) cooking pot or a small stock pot.
- Use the red wine to wash out the tomato cans before pouring it into the pot.
- Simmer in the covered pot on very low heat for a minimum of 3 hours, and ideally for at least 3 hours.
- I start the sauce at medium heat, bring it almost to a boil, then turn the heat down until the sauce just bubbles a few times a minute, but does not actively boil.
- Stir at least once an hour to redistribute the ingredients, particularly those near the bottom.
- The whole tomatoes will break down quite a bit during cooking, but if you prefer a smoother texture you could use a hand potato masher to break them up a bit more, after at least an hour of simmering. I much prefer the chunks of tomato, which add character to the sauce and allow you to better appreciate the great flavor of well-cooked plum tomatoes.
- Add the artichoke hearts about 15 minutes before serving the sauce.
- Serve over your favorite pasta.
Electric ranges are ideal for this kind of slow cooking. We have a gas range, and I use a metal protective plate under the pot to keep the inside bottom of the pot from scorching. A large slow cooker also works very well. You may have to scale down the ingredients to fit your slow cooker.