Italian food is a mutual favorite in our household. So it would make sense that we have tried to perfect some of our own recipes over the years. Because what’s a good home without a classic spaghetti and meat sauce recipe? No offense to Prego or Ragu, but as the old saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself.
I actually picked up some advice from a Hollywood classic: The Godfather. It was the scene where Clamenza shows Michael Corleone the secrets to his sauce. This one. I saw that and thought, “eh, what the heck, next time I make spaghetti I’ll add some red wine and sugar”
Well, I’ve never gone back. The red wine adds a rich & fruity complexity that cannot be substituted with anything else. The sugar plays well with the acidity from all the tomatoes and spicy sausage. Yes, I use italian sausage. If you want a true italian sauce, you gotta use italian meat. Lastly, I let it simmer for a good long while to allow all the flavors to marry. This is an important step.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb mild italian sausage
- 1/2 lb hot italian sausage
- 1/2 large yellow onion - diced
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 28oz can diced tomatoes (we use San Marzano)
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup red wine - Use something dry and fruity like a Cab-Sauv, Burgundy, or Bordeaux.
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Salt & Pepper to taste
In a large saucepan (we use our dutch oven) saute onion on med-high heat until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
Note: I add the salt & pepper throughout the next few stages a little at a time (season as you go)
Add garlic, cook for one more minute
Add sausage, breaking it up into small chunks Saute until until it starts to brown a little bit, about 7-10 minutes.
Add red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all those delicious bits off the bottom of the pot.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer over med-low heat for about 45 minutes.
Serve over a bed of delicious pasta, top with fresh grated parmesan. Oh, and serve yourself up a glass of that red wine.
Okay, fine. I also have a “secret” ingredient. It’s the cinnamon. It adds that “what is this?” element. It’s totally fine to leave it out if you want to.