Sunday sauce

Sunday sauce

Pasta with red sauce is good any day of the week. Meat optional. 🍝


  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • A little olive oil
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, finely diced (or about 2 tbsp of minced garlic)
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs mild italian sausage, casings removed and pulled apart to ground meat (optional)
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 0.5 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp fresh black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 225°F (about 110°C).
  2. In a big dutch oven over medium heat, sweat the onions in a little bit of olive oil until translucent (about 5-10 minutes).
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the sausage and stir in the onions and garlic to help break it up some, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add all the canned tomatoes, wine, and spices. Stir well.
  6. Put the lid on the dutch oven, cracked to allow some evaporation. Cook it in the oven for 6-12 hours, stirring from time to time or not at all. Serve with fresh pasta.


  • If you prefer a more “chunky” sauce, use whole peeled and/or diced tomatoes instead. It also helps to just cut the sausage into rounds and leave the casings on.
  • It can just as easily be simmered on the stove top instead. Stir more frequently to check that the bottom of the pan isn’t getting scorched and perhaps add water from time to time.
  • Fresh herbs are delightful here, but aren’t always available.
  • There’s no need to be picky about the type of red wine. I tend to use boxed red blend that sits in the pantry for cooking, but a quick pour from whatever you’re drinking this evening works too. Balsamic vinegar also works as a substitute.
  • Freezes and reheats excellently for fast meals from leftovers.
  • Don’t like sausage? Use pork shoulder, beef short ribs or chuck, or other “tough cut” instead. Brown thoroughly, then simmer like a normal braise. Optionally, shred the meat before serving.
  • For a more “woodsy” take, add a stem or two of fresh rosemary and a drop of liquid smoke, but take out about half of the onion (less sweet) and omit the parsley. Goes well with beef chuck or pork shoulder for a hearty ragù.