Hearty Italian Meat Sauce

Since moving we have felt so extremely welcomed.  And mostly, that is, by food.  Food from so many wonderful people from our new church and our neighborhood.  Our first weekend here I was invited to a group book study, “Bible Camp” as they call it with a group of (amazing) women.  They happen to meet at a house in my neighborhood and there is always food involved.  “So what could be bad?”, I though.

And well, nothing, nothing at all was bad.  And I have gone back each week to this group of welcoming ladies.  And what does this have to do with meat sauce, you ask?  Well, a couple of weeks ago at our Monday night meet-up, we had a sit-down meal instead of our regular snacks and sweets.  There was homemade lasagna, a salad, homemade French bread, fruit, rice pudding…the list goes on.  And that lasagna – that’s where the meat sauce comes in to play here.  This lasagna was the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted and I’m not even exaggerating.  Vera, who made it, gladly shared her recipe and the following week I found myself craving that sauce.

Hearty Italian Meat Sauce

So I made it.  But I was feeling lazy so instead of lasagna, it became meat sauce that I served over spaghetti noodles with a salad.  Paul had no complaints.  In fact, we fought over the leftovers!  I’m telling you – I could have just eaten this sauce straight out of the bowl with a spoon.  That’s saying a lot coming from this pasta-lover.  And the secret is the Italian sausage.  Why have I never used it in a meat sauce before?  It made all the difference!  Amazing flavor without tons of heat.  This is without a doubt, my new go-to hearty meat sauce recipe!

I also have to mention that this same night, these ladies also “showered” me with an amazing welcome basket with kitchen towels, candles, and gift cards; and also – a loaf of bread (which we ate with this spaghetti and meat sauce), a jar of salt and a bottle of wine – (I loved this) the bread represents the symbolic hope that we will always have plenty; the salt so that life always has flavor; the bottle of wine for celebrating life’s good times.  If you ever need a fun gift – try this, I was so blessed by it!

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Hearty Italian Meat Sauce

Yield: 8 large servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Total Time: 4 hours

Thick, hearty and flavorful meat sauce recipe with ground beef, Italian sausage and lots of tomato and herbs.

Ingredients:

1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 pound ground chuck
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, divided

Directions:

Crumble the sausage and ground chuck into a large Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often and breaking up large chunks of meat. After about 5 minutes, add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are fragrant and the meat is cooked through. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low. Carefully add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and half of the fresh basil. Stir very well to combine. Cover and simmer the sauce for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

About 20 minutes before ready to serve, remove the lid and turn the heat as low as it will go. Allow the sauce to thicken for about 15 minutes.

Stir in the remaining fresh basil, adjust seasonings to taste and serve over cooked pasta.

Slightly adapted from my friend Vera's lasagna sauce recipe.

Hearty Italian Meat Sauce