- Two 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 and a half large onions (chopped)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely (optional)
- 6-10 cloves of garlic (chopped finely, no garlic press!!)
- Big handful of fresh basil (chopped) or about 1 tablespoon dried
- 2 additional tablespoons of fresh basil (optional)
- Big handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped) or about 1 tablespoon dried
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- A good pinch of red pepper flakes (probably a half to a full teaspoon)
- Salt to taste (probably 1 – 3 teaspoons)
- Olive oil
- 5-6 Italian sausage links
- Joe’s Italian meatballs (already prepared, click to see recipe)
In a large pot, put some olive oil, prick the sausages all over to allow the fat to render out, and brown them on all sides. Remove the sausages and add the onion and jalepeno. Saute for 10-20 minutes until caramelized and have taken on some color. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the herbs and fry for 30 seconds. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan. For the tomatoes, I open the cans and use kitchen shears to cut them up right in the can so not to make a mess. Some use their hands to crush them and other use a food processor or blender to chop them up a bit. If you choose the later, do not puree them, leave them chunky and probably larger than you think they need to be–they will cook down. Add the tomatoes to the pot. Add the tomato paste, sugar, black pepper, red pepper flake and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Bring back to a boil and add the sausage–you can add them whole or cut each into thirds. Reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 2 hours. About 90 minutes into the simmer, taste and adjust seasoning (salt and sugar). It’s important to wait the hour and a half before re-seasoning so the alcohol can cook off and the sauce reduced a bit. If you try this at the beginning it’s going to taste funny because of the wine and you might over salt the dish. Then add some meatballs for the last 15 minutes or so as well.
If you are using fresh basil, just minutes before serving, add another tablespoon or two of chopped basil. Don’t add more dried basil! It’s now ready to be served over spaghetti or whatever pasta you like.