My sister is a good cook, but she generally doesn’t make much meat. Whenever she comes over for dinner, or I offer to cook at her house her immediate request is for “meats!” Especially when she was pregnant, all she wanted was meat. Preferably meat cooked by me or Mister. So when I spent a weekend at her house late in her pregnancy stocking up her freezer, of course one of her first requests (besides empanadas) was Meats!
I wanted to make something that would work as a family dinners, but would also be a reasonable quick meal for her when her husband wasn’t home. Lil’ Sis isn’t leftover adverse, and she LOOOVES noodles, so spaghetti sauce seemed like the obvious choice (with meat, of course). This recipe makes a ton of sauce. It’s definitely a simmer all day kind of recipe, but it doesn’t require much baby sitting, and at the end of the day you’re rewarded with freezer full of delicious hearty meals for nights where you can’t be bothered to do anything besides boil some noodles. (And maybe throw together some salad. Balanced meals are your friend.)
‘Mater Sauce with Meats
Makes about 10 cups of sauce.
- A #10 can of crushed tomatoes (or 4 regular big cans)
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 2 mild Italian sausages, casing removed
- 2 diced medium yellow onions
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1.5 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
In a large pot (~8 qts), over medium high heat, crumble the ground beef and sausage and brown well. It doesn’t have to be fully cooked, but get lots of browned surfaces on there. Remove the meat and set aside. Pour out the grease, leaving 1-2 Tbsp in the pot.
Saute the onion and garlic in the meat grease until softened and starting to brown.
Sprinkle in the salt, peppers, and herbs and mix well. Pour in the red wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to dissolve all the brown meaty goodness. Let cook till the pot is nearly dry again. Add the meat back in.
Carefully, because it will want to splatter all over the place, pour in the crushed tomatoes. If for some reason you don’t get a kick out of buying the giant cans like I do, you can feel free to use 3-4 normal sized (i.e. 28 oz) cans. But seriously how fun it is to have a can this big?
Regular sized diced tomato can provided for size reference only. Also outing myself for using totally unfancy canned tomato products.
Stir well, bring to a simmer and let it just bubble away over low heat for several hours. I think ours was going for about 6 hours. It will darken in color and reduce slightly. Also it will look like the surface of a bubbling pool of magma.
Add the grated Parmesan and mix in well. Let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes and taste to adjust seasoning if needed.
Remove from heat and let it cool down a bit and then package for the freezer.
(if you want to get an A in food safety, use an ice bath to cool it quickly)
I like to use gallon ziplock freezer bags, and lay them flat to freeze. They stack neatly and thaw much faster than a big block of sauce. I put about 2.5 cups of sauce in each bag, squeeze out the air and then seal them up and lay them on a cookie sheet to freeze. (insurance in case of leaks)
Alternately – cook up about 5 pounds of pasta and proceed to feed a small army.
Note: If you don’t have all day for simmering, add a small can of tomato paste before the red wine. Let it cook for a minute or two before adding the red wine and then proceed as written. You can reduce the simmering time to ~2 hours.