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Recipes: Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauces - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Recipes: Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauces
Okay, this is a bit more complicated than usual. Normally I plan a recipe and then buy the ingredients. This time, we bought 25 pounds of tomatoes, plus a handful of other produce, and we needed to use them up. That changes the dynamics and proportions a bit. What we did this time was to make two simultaneous batches; the Zesty Italian Spaghetti Sauce is bigger and uses 2 pounds of meat, while the Hot Italian Spaghetti Sauce is smaller and uses 1 pound of meat. We wound up dividing the bell pepper and the onion between them. Normally I would buy separate produce and size it accordingly, or else just use half of one. So if I make it again, I'm likely to do it that way. Therefore I have included dual measurements so folks can see both what I did this time, and what I'll probably do on a remake. This way, if you want to make these two recipes at the same time like I did, you've got that option as well as a more usable shopping list for separate cooking.


* * *

"Zesty Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauce"


Ingredients:
2 pints assorted cherry tomatoes
4 lbs. beefsteak tomatoes
2/3 cup bell pepper (or 1 whole bell pepper)
1 1/3 cups chopped onion (or 1 medium sweet onion)
1 cup chopped celery
2-4 cloves garlic (about 1 tablespoon minced)
long sprig of fresh oregano (about 1 teaspoon chopped)
large sprig of fresh sage (12 leaves, about 2 tablespoons chopped)
large bunch of fresh basil (44 leaves, about 3/4 cup chopped)
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon red peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon green peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 bay leaf
12 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon red peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon green peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 pounds loose mild Italian sausage


Directions:

Set a large pot of water to boil; it will need to reach a rolling boil to scald the tomatoes. Set a large pot of cold water beside it.

Wash the cherry tomatoes. Cut them into bite-sized chunks. Usually you can just halve the tiny ones and quarter the larger ones. If any pieces look too big, cut them down smaller. Put the cherry tomato chunks into a crockpot and turn it on Low.

Wash the beefsteak tomatoes. Cut the ends off. Carefully cut a line down four sides. Dunk them, two at a time, in boiling water for 30 seconds. Transfer them to cold water. Pull the skins off. Put the peeled tomatoes in a bowl. Dice the peeled tomatoes and put them into a large bowl.

Cut the bell pepper in half. Scrape the seeds out. Dice the pepper. Measure if you want to be precise, or just dump it all in. Stir into the crockpot.

Peel the onion. Dice it, measure if you want to be precise, or just dump it all in. Stir into the crockpot.

Rinse the celery stalks and cut the ends off. Split the stalk lengthwise, then slice at an angle until you have 1 cup. Add the celery to the crockpot, and stir it in.

Peel the garlic cloves. Mince them, add to the crock pot, and stir.

Gather a long sprig of fresh oregano, a large sprig of fresh sage, and a large bunch of fresh basil. Strip the oregano leaves off the stems and wad them together. Use kitchen scissors to snip them into the crockpot. Cut the sage leaves in half, removing the center ribs. Snip them into the crock pot. Tear the sweet basil leaves in half, removing the large ribs. Snip them into the crock pot. Stir.

Into a mortar and pestle, put 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon red peppercorns, and 1/2 teaspoon green peppercorns. Grind thoroughly. Add 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt. Grind again. Sprinkle the spice blend into the spaghetti sauce. Add 1 bay leaf. Stir.

Cover the crock pot and cook for about four hours, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be releasing lots of juice and starting to get tender.

Add 12 oz. can tomato paste. Stir.

Into a mortar and pestle, put 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon red peppercorns, and 1/4 teaspoon green peppercorns. Grind together.

Put 2 pounds of loose mild Italian sausage into a skillet. Sprinkle with the crushed peppercorns. Then sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Brown the sausage thoroughly, breaking it into tiny pieces. Add the sausage to the crockpot and stir.

Cook for another 2-3 hours. Every half-hour or so, stir the sauce. Taste it and adjust spices if necessary. Eventually the sauce will cook down and thicken. Watch for the onion and bell pepper to become translucent. The tomatoes should turn to thick liquid with a few solid bits.

Serve immediately or transfer to containers and freeze for later. Makes about 12-14 cups of spaghetti sauce.


Notes:

"Cherry" is a broad category of tiny, sweet tomato. Using an assorted batch of these gives a sweet, complex flavor to the sauce. It doesn't take a large quantity to do the job, but you really need these, at least two different colors and the more the better. For this batch I used red, orange, yellow, and purple ones.

"Beefsteak" is a broad category of tomato meant for slicing fresh or cooking into chunky recipes. They are round with firm flesh. Any variety of beefsteak tomato should work.

I used two big cloves of garlic. Figure 3-4 normal sized cloves.

I used fresh herbs because I had them, although a few more sprigs of oregano would have been better. You can substitute dried herbs if that's all you have.

Different colors of peppercorn have different flavors. If you don’t have different kinds, use all black. Start with 2 teaspoons, then add more if you wish; black pepper is stronger than the other kinds. Another way to make this recipe hotter is to increase the crushed red pepper.

If you don’t have sea salt, plain table salt will work instead.

Try to get a can of tomato paste that has only tomato in it, because if there are spices already added, that will affect the flavor.

Italian sausage comes loose or in links. You really need the loose kind. My previous attempts to make Italian sausage spaghetti sauce used links because I couldn't find the loose kind, and did not turn out well, so I don't recommend that substitution.

Italian sausage also comes in mild or hot flavors. I prefer mild for this recipe, but you can use hot if you wish. In this case, when I opened the package, I could see spices but not smell them, a sign that someone used cheap flavorless spices. So I added my own to enhance the flavor. If you get a high quality sausage then you may not need to add spices.

This recipe produces a zesty sauce with a rich, meaty flavor and a sweet note. It is spicy without being really hot.

* * *

"Hot Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauce"


Ingredients:
3 lbs. beefsteak tomatoes
1/3 cup bell pepper (or half a bell pepper)
2/3 cups chopped onion (or 1 small sweet onion)
1/2 cup chopped celery
2-3 cloves garlic (about 1 teaspoon minced)
long sprig of fresh oregano (about 1 teaspoon chopped)
long sprig of fresh rosemary (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
small sprig of fresh sage (8 leaves, about 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped)
small bunch of fresh basil (35 leaves, about 1/2 cup chopped)
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 bay leaf
12 oz. can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound loose mild Italian sausage
1/8 cup brown sugar


Directions:

Set a large pot of water to boil; it will need to reach a rolling boil to scald the tomatoes. Set a large pot of cold water beside it.

Wash the beefsteak tomatoes. Cut the ends off. Carefully cut a line down four sides. Dunk them, two at a time, in boiling water for 30 seconds. Transfer them to cold water. Pull the skins off. Put the peeled tomatoes in a bowl. Dice the peeled tomatoes. Put them into a crockpot and turn it on Low.

Cut the bell pepper in half. Scrape the seeds out. Dice the pepper. If you want to be precise, measure as you go until you have 1/3 cup chopped pepper. Otherwise, chop half of it and throw all that into the crockpot. Reserve the remaining bell pepper for another recipe.

Peel the onion. Dice it, measure if you want to be precise, or just dump it all in. Stir into the crockpot.

Rinse the celery stalks and cut the ends off. Split the stalk lengthwise, then slice at an angle until you have 1 cup. Add the celery to the crockpot, and stir it in.

Peel the garlic cloves. Mince them, add to the crock pot, and stir.

Gather a long sprig of fresh oregano, a long sprig of fresh rosemary, a small sprig of fresh sage, and a small bunch of fresh basil. Strip the oregano leaves off the stems and wad them together. Use kitchen scissors to snip them into the crockpot. Do the same with the rosemary. Cut the sage leaves in half, removing the center ribs. Snip them into the crock pot. Tear the sweet basil leaves in half, removing the large ribs. Snip them into the crock pot. Stir.

Into a mortar and pestle, put 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns. Grind thoroughly. Add 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt. Grind again. Sprinkle the spice blend into the spaghetti sauce. Add 1 bay leaf. Stir.

Cover the crock pot and cook for about four hours, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be releasing lots of juice and starting to get tender.

Add 12 oz. can tomato paste. Stir.

Into a mortar and pestle, put 1 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns. Grind.

Put 1 pound of loose mild Italian sausage into a skillet. Sprinkle with the crushed peppercorns. Then sprinkle on 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Brown the sausage thoroughly, breaking it into tiny pieces. Add the sausage to the crockpot and stir.

Cook for another 2-3 hours. Every half-hour or so, stir the sauce. Taste it and adjust spices if necessary. If it's sour, as mine was, add 1/8 cup of brown sugar, or more to taste.

Eventually the sauce will cook down and thicken. Watch for the onion and bell pepper to become translucent. The tomatoes should turn to thick liquid with a few solid bits.

Serve immediately or transfer to containers and freeze for later. Makes about 10-12 cups of spaghetti sauce.


Notes:

"Beefsteak" is a broad category of tomato meant for slicing fresh or cooking into chunky recipes. They are round with firm flesh. Any variety of beefsteak tomato should work.

I used one huge clove of garlic. Figure 2-3 normal sized cloves.

Different colors of peppercorn have different flavors. If you don’t have different kinds, use all black. Start with 1 teaspoon, then add more if you wish; black pepper is stronger than the other kinds. Another way to make this recipe hotter is to increase the crushed red pepper.

If you don’t have sea salt, plain table salt will work instead.

Try to get a can of tomato paste that has only tomato in it, because if there are spices already added, that will affect the flavor.

Italian sausage comes loose or in links. You really need the loose kind. My previous attempts to make Italian sausage spaghetti sauce used links because I couldn't find the loose kind, and did not turn out well, so I don't recommend that substitution.

Italian sausage also comes in mild or hot flavors. I would prefer hot for this recipe, but you can use mild if you wish. I used mild here because I couldn't find any hot. In this case, when I opened the package, I could see spices but not smell them, a sign that someone used cheap flavorless spices. So I added my own to enhance the flavor. If you get a high quality sausage then you may not need to add spices.

This recipe produces a sauce with a pronounced spicy flavor. While not hot in the way that chili lovers think of heat, it is much spicier than typical for spaghetti sauce.

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Comments
cat_sanctuary From: cat_sanctuary Date: August 30th, 2017 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
When you're blessed with a superabundance of tomatoes...YUM!
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