I mentioned my semi-homemade streak last year in this post and am slightly embarrassed to say that it continued whenever I made something involving marinara-like sauce. My go-to was a store brand to which I would add my own spices because whenever I consulted my good friend, Google, about red sauce recipes the results were exasperating in both their ingredients and processes. Anchovies, seriously? Tradeoffs are definitely necessary in order to maintain sanity but I have always thought to myself “surely, I can make spaghetti sauce.” I can. And you can too! I still have visions of jarring and canning all kinds of homemade things from the bounty of my not-yet-existent garden one day–much like how Real Housewife of New Jersey Teresa Giudice made crates of red sauce to tide her family over before she “went away”. So, while grocery shopping the other day, I snubbed the jarred stuff in favor of some cans of crushed tomato. I played with the herbs and spices I like in a sauce and I am never turning back, y’all! This sauce was so easy I felt ridiculous for not mastering it sooner. As is always the case with homemade, I know exactly what is in it and, equally as important, what isn’t [side-eyeing you, preservatives]. This simple sauce would be great in something like my baked spaghetti and meatballs with goat cheese, the rigatoni dish seen below, or your favorite. I hope you’ll try it, make it your own, and love it like I do. 🙂
About 24 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, chopped
About 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Dried parsley, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
1 pound ground turkey
4 button mushrooms, chopped (optional)
About two handfuls baby spinach (optional)
Makes about five servings.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium flame. Add onion and cook until almost translucent. Add garlic and decrease heat to medium-low. Cook for a few minutes before adding turkey (or your meat of choice), sea salt, and black pepper. Bring heat back to medium. Cook meat through then add crushed tomato, parsley, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Stir well. Reduce heat and allow sauce to cook and bubble for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, then taste test.
If it has any bitter flavor (from the tomato), add up to one tablespoon of brown sugar to taste. At this point, you can stir in the mushroom, spinach, or other fun veggies of your choosing.
Serve with the pasta of your choosing. I made this easy pasta bake by layering the sauce with semi-cooked (boiled for about six minutes) rigatoni, fresh mozzarella and fresh spinach in a 9X9-inch pan.
If you want to try the same full dish (you definitely do), just pop the pan in an oven at 375 degrees and bake covered for 10 minutes then uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. I added some fresh chopped basil on top just before serving.
I hope you’ll try this out and let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading!