This is a traditional Italian sauce that is very versatile and a great one to have on hand for a big family get together!
This simple sauce is bursting with bright tomatoes, a pinch of garlic, and basil. It has such a simple flavors yet it’s one if those that simmers for hours and gets better over time, and trust me your house will smell AMAZING. Think of it as meal prep. Once you make a large batch of sauce, all you need is to freeze it and take it out when you need a quick dinner later in the week or even in the month! Just thaw, boil pasta ,and voila!
What makes this sauce so special is I have been making it for ten years and it is better every batch! It reminds me if sitting at the dining room table with my whole family and all the warm feelings to go with it!
I am a sucker for anything Italian. Being a quarter italian myself, maybe I inherited some magic cooking skills to create amazing sauces! ( or at least I like to think so) I usually make this to go in my baked ziti recipe. It is also great on rigatoni by itself with fresh Parmesan!
It makes a huge batch and feeds a crowd! Good thing it freezes well!
Serves a crowd ( approximately 10-12 servings):
Approximate Nutrition: Calories: 400, Fat: 17 g, Carbs 30g
, Fiber 4g, Protein 28g ( this nutrition includes all meats, pasta, and cheeses for the baked ziti option)
– 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
– 5 minced cloves of garlic
– 2 tbs tomato paste
– 2 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes
– 2 cups of water
– 1 lb italian sausage ( casings removed and browned) ( optional) ( I used chicken sausage)
– 6 basil leaves chopped
For the meatballs:
– 1 lb lean ground beef (93% lean)
– 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
– 2 minced garlic cloves
– 1 egg
– 1 egg white
– 1 tsp parsley
– 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
– 3 basil leaves chopped
– salt and pepper to taste
For baked ziti:
– 1 lb ziti cooked per instructions ( I use Dreamfields pasta for low carbs)
– 1/2 package reduced fat Mozzerella
– 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
– 1/2 container reduced fat ricotta cheese
– layers of Sunday Gravy 🙂
– In a large sauce pan, heat oil and garlic on medium low heat for two minutes
– Add tomato paste and stir in with garlic for about two minutes
– Add two cans of whole peeled tomatoes. Here is the fun part. Don’t be afraid to dive in! I actually crush each tomato and squish it with my bare hands!!
– Add the water and let simmer on low for 20-30 minutes.
– while the sauce simmers brown the sausages and make meatballs.
– To make meatballs: mix all ingredients together thoroughly and roll into teaspoon sized balls and bake in oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.If meatballs are not thoroughly cooked, dont worry because it will finish cooking in the sauce. 😉
– Add meats and basil to sauce and partially cover on low heat for another hour stirring occasionally. ( The trick is the meats actually add TONS of flavor to the sauce without adding anything extra!)
– It’s finished! Now take a step back to admire and serve!
You can serve right away on top of pasta of choice.
Take the meats out and serve as a separate course with the sauce on top of pasta as main course.
For the baked ziti option:
Preheat oven to 350.
In a baking pan layer Sunday Gravy with meats, pasta, ricotta and Mozzerella I that order until you reach top of pan. Top with fresh Parmesan and basil.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes until cheese is bubbling.
Hope you enjoy this family recipe as much as I have over the years! I did lighten it up a bit from the original so it is pretty guilt free! I use Dreamfields pastas to help with carbs, this could also go over Zoodles for a very healthy meal!!!