How to: Make a Fast, Easy, Basic Meat Sauce Loaded with Veggies
I’ll be the absolute first to admit that I am as far from a chef as I could possibly get. I will say though, as someone with a best friend who IS an actual chef, I do get kudos from her for my developing skills in the kitchen…not to mention my husband appreciates that my skills are blossoming. I mean, let’s face it: not all of us went to culinary school. A lot of us went to college and lived off of TERRIBLE caf food and the frequent late night escapade out to get real food from some sort of restaurant (probably fast food), OR there was a hall kitchen that was locked the majority of the time because someone left all their crap in there for other people to clean up. OR, like me, you had a fridge filled with bottles of water, the occasional contraband alcoholic beverage, and some yogurt and/or juice. Not to mention those little kool-aid flavored drinks, what were they? 4 for a dollar, I believe. Oh yea, and maybe you had a bowl for soup and ramen and maybe some mac and cheese. All that to say, most of us were not developing our culinary skills. So, here we go: an easy, relatively fast, fresh, veggie laden meat sauce. Let’s say, you have 4 medium tomatoes, some oregano and basil (dried or fresh), some tomato paste, some italian sausage, red and green bell peppers, red wine vinegar and an onion just lying around your kitchen. These could make for a delectable sauce. Not only is it healthy, but you can have fresh sauce for about the cost of pre-made sauce, depending on what sauce you buy and how much your vegetables cost. Better yet, if you have a garden, this sauce would be like….FREE. Just kidding, but it WOULD be a lot CHEAPER…totally one reason I really wish I could have a garden. Maybe next year I will have a patio garden…that’s a thought. Anyway. Back to the sauce. This is what mine looked like:
You will need:
- 4 medium ripe tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
- Basil and oregano (dried or fresh) to season to taste (personal preference really)
- 1 medium sweet or yellow onion chopped into medium pieces
- 1/2 red bell pepper seeded and sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 green bell pepper seeded and sliced into thin strips
- 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
- 1 small can of tomato paste (use half or more to your liking)
- 1 package of italian sausage, sweet, hot or mild. (i used mild)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pitted Kalamata olives a handful chopped (optional)
- Garlic (optional) I didnt use garlic this time because my husband was taking this to work (gotta be thoughtful of others haha)
I use just one skillet for this whole recipe, it’s a pretty big one. I start by removing the casing off of the sausage…I do this because I don’t like sausage casing.
Then while I sautéed the sausage, I add thin slices of the pepper and the chopped onion.
I normally add spices here and there while I cook. So I start by a few hefty shakes of dried basil and oregano, since this is the fast version. There is nothing wrong with dried herbs. If I make fresh home made Alfredo sauce, then I use fresh herbs.
After I sauté the sausage and onions and peppers and they are cooked and limp, I add the tomatoes and minced Garlic and I simmer that until the tomatoes lose their shape and I continue stirring as well and you can taste it and see of you need more salt pepper or basil and oregano. Some people like more and others like less. I normally use As little salt in this recipe because it normally doesn’t need it especially if you add kalamata olives.
Then after the tomatoes cook, I add a splash of red wine vinaigrette and add in the tomato paste gradually, there should be plenty of juice from the tomatoes at this point. You can also add more herbs as you think necessary. When using dried herbs in a sauce, you want it to be very robust. After the tomato paste is incorporated stir and simmer. Add chopped olives and keep stirring. Once you’ve tasted and the sauce is presumed done, remove from heat and incorporate into the pasta of your choice. Enjoy! (Top with some parm or Romano! Yum!)