Quick Chunky Pasta Sauce

So being the good Jewish girl that I am, I do know how to make an awesome homemade pasta sauce.

You thought I was gonna say Lo Mein or something, didn’t you?  I’m an anomaly to that stereotype, I actually hate most Chinese food.  The doughnuts though?  Could eat them all day.

I’m pretty much an Italian trapped in a Jewish lady’s body.  I could eat pasta daily.  Every shape, size, color, form, etc. Gimme it.

Because of that I do know how to make a pretty awesome pasta sauce.  But it takes FOREVER….. You have to cook down the veggies, develop all the flavors and let it simmer and cook and….yeah.  I mean, it’s amazing.  But it takes all day to make it completely from scratch.

So I’ve gotten really good at doing a “semi-homemade” version where you just sort of jazz up a bottle of sauce.  I mean, yeah, by themselves, some bottles are actually really flavorful these days.  But, I love meat sauce and so few of them have really good quality meat in there and have a depth of flavor.  I love a really hearty, chunky sauce and you can’t get that from a bottle.  And of course, we love heat and spice in our house, and so few are hot and spicy so you have to up the ante with bottles.

You can get a good base out of a bottle, though, which is what I go for in this quick version. You can use any good bottled sauce that you enjoy.  I used a basil and garlic based sauce here, but I’ve used meat flavored and cheese flavored before, too.  There is some freshness brought back by using some fresh herbs and veggies and the heartiness from the meat additions.  So, in about 30-40 minutes, you can get a really good pasta sauce that you didn’t spend all day cooking.

Quick Chunky Pasta Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound hot italian sausage (if using links, use 2 links and remove the casings)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced or grated
  • 1 24-30oz jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 cup water or beef stock (I used stock here; stock adds a different flavor depth, but use what you have)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced,
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons super fine sugar (regular sugar will also work)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1. Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat and brown the ground beef and sausage.  Break up the meat into small bite size pieces.  Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add onions, peppers and garlic.  I use a little Microplane hand grater like this one, to grate the garlic into the sauce just because I hate chopping garlic.  If you don’t mind, feel free to finely mince it with your knife. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are translucent and fragrant.

3. Gently pour in the jarred sauce and water/stock and stir gently to combine.  Add in the red pepper flakes, italian seasoning, oregano, 3 tablespoons of parsley, basil and sugar.  Fold in the seasonings and stir well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and let sauce simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and taste testing for seasonings.

4. While simmering, boil your choice of pasta in salted water.  I used ziti, just because it’s what we had in the house.  I’ve done it with linguini, rotini, shells, etc.  Use whatever works for you. Drop the pasta into the sauce once it has been drained to let the noodles soak up some of the sauce.  Finally, serve the pasta with some of the reserved parsley on the top for garnish.

Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “Quick Chunky Pasta Sauce

  1. I made this tonight but felt like three tablespoons of sugar was a lot. It made it really sweet. Did you mean teaspoons or is it supposed to be sweet? 🙂

    1. I like it with some sweet and some heat, so I did actually use tablespoons. If it seems like too much, I’d cut it down to maybe a couple teaspoons at first and adjust it to the sweet level you like. 🙂

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