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This is a red sauce that tastes great on all sorts of pasta, including lasagna. It is flavorful, filling, and delicious for any occasion. If you do not eat meat, simply leave out the sausage.

Basic Red Sauce

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  • Ready in: about an hour and 1/2
  • Complexity: easy
 Basic Red Sauce


  • 1 large can pureed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (sweet or spicy)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 red/green bell pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp honey


  1.  Fry the sausage, breaking into small pieces in the large saucepan. A potato masher works well to break up the sausage, but a spatula can do the job as well. Once the sausage is done, pour out any extra grease if it has any, reserving some to saute the onion. Remove sausage from saucepan.
  2.  Using the same saucepan, saute onion, garlic, and celery in large saucepan, using reserved fat. This step is essential to giving your sauce the perfect flavor. If you are using pepper, add the pepper after the onion and celery are done, sauteing only lightly.
  3.  Squish the whole tomatoes in the can with your hands; this will give the sauce a delicious chunky texture. Add the squished whole tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sausage to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently.
  4.  Add basil, oregano, and thyme. Continue to simmer gently for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in honey. The honey will mellow the bitter flavor of the tomatoes. Continue to simmer over low heat until sauce is properly reduced.
  6.  Serve hot over pasta, or use in lasagna, eggplant parmesan, etc.

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