The Universe’s Best Pasta Sauce

Bikenut and I are having a few people over to watch Lost tonight.  We started this little gathering last season, and have decided to carry on through this final season.  Typically, I had my brother and his wife over, or they’d have us over, and our friend Alim would join us most times as well.

Since then, we’ve had to forfeit our long couch to make room for the chair that used to live in the living room, but then moved to the bedroom, and had to move back to the living room because we bought a bigger bed — but I digress.  Point is, we don’t have a lot of seating at this particular juncture, and while my brother and his wife won’t be joining us due to work and school commitments, Alim will be here, and we have two newcomers to our Lost dinner.  I have no idea where everyone will sit, but we’ll find a way!  Hopefully that way doesn’t involve this awesome pasta sauce ending up all over my carpet.

This is definitely not good for the carpet. Pasta, yes. Carpet, no.

Pasta is a relatively cheap meal, unless you’re me, then you somehow manage to spend $91 at Safeway when you are just popping in to pick up a few things.  A little more than half of that was for the dinner tonight, and probably about a quarter of that was unnecessary expense (bought two cans of things when I only needed one can, bought organically grown products,  etc.) or for multiple use items (like spices.)   But honestly, how can I complain about feeding 5 people and having leftovers for additional meals all for around $40?

On to the actual reason for this post — the pasta sauce!  I nabbed the basics of this recipe from allrecipes.com.  It was billed as “World’s Best Pasta Sauce!” so you know I had to try it out — and then tweak it to make it my own.  Now I think it’s the Universe’s Best Pasta Sauce!

Added the cubed onions and fresh basil to the mix.

The original recipe calls for all dried spices, but I really like the flavor that a ton of fresh basil adds to the sauce.  The original also called for fennel, in addition to the fennel already in the Italian sausage.  I like fennel more these days, but I think there’s enough in the sausage to not have to add more.  Add more basil instead!

Simmered for about an hour and a half.

I usually add a whole pound of mushrooms to this sauce, but one of our guests tonight is allergic to them.  I want to be a good hostess and not kill my guests, so I left out the mushrooms.  Guess what!  The sauce is still awesome!  It’s been simmering for about 5 hours now, so I’m going to go re-sample it again.  Enjoy!

The Universe’s Best Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 1.5 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions, 1 diced & 1 cubed
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (6.5oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (3.8oz) can of sliced black olives
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh basil (hand torn or chiffonade)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the sausage, beef, diced onion, and garlic over medium heat until well-browned; drain fat.
  2. Stir in whole tomatoes (with liquid), tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water.
  3. Stir in sugar, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper.
  4. Add cubed onion, mushrooms, olives and 1/2 bunch of basil.
  5. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve with your favorite pasta, top with Romano and/or Parmesan cheese and garnish with remaining basil.
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