A comforting classic, this isn’t a dish that comes together in 30 minutes but it’s not an all-day affair either. It’s pretty low-maintenance once the sauce is simmering so it’s not difficult, it just takes a couple of hours. It’s one of my many variations on tomato-based pasta sauces, none of which are the classic gravy that my husband and his family make. Maybe one day I’ll be able to share that one here but for now this is pretty tasty.
Experiment with different brands of tomatoes, based on what you have available. Cento isn’t my favorite but they’re better than some of the other brands. There really is a difference! As far as herbs go, I have a bunch growing in my garden so I use fresh. You can certainly use dried without a problem.
- Italian Sausage, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
- Diced Tomatoes, 1 large can
- Tomato Puree, 1 large can
- Whole Peeled Tomatoes, 1 large can
- Yellow or White Onion, 1 medium
- Garlic, 7 or 8 cloves
- Olive Oil, 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Red Wine, 1 to 1 1/2 cups
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Rosemary, 1 tablespoon, fresh-snipped or dry
- Oregano, 1 tablespoon, fresh-snipped or dry
- Basil Leaves, a handful of fresh or a tablespoon or so of dry basil
- Spaghetti (or linguine or buccatini or fettucine), 1 p0und
- Fresh Parmesan or Asiago
In a large saute pan or a stockpot over medium heat, heat enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring every now and then, until the onion softens. Add the garlic, red pepper, rosemary and oregano. If you’re using dried basil, add it too. Cook for just another minute or two, being careful not to let the garlic burn.
Bring it to a low simmer and let it cook, stirring every now and then, for 90 minutes to two hours. As the whole tomatoes cook and soften up a bit, smash them with the back of your spoon when you’re there stirring.
When the spaghetti is done, drain it but reserve a cup or two of the cooking water. Add it to the pot with sauce and toss it all together over low heat. If the sauce seems thick, add a little of the pasta water.