The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Kirsten’s Kickin Spaghetti Sauce

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

This is my way to get loads of veggies into my kids with their knowledge and assistance. It’s also a terrific way to use up tons of fresh produce that we get from our CSA farm share. The amounts are deliberately vague because that’s how I roll.

Ingredients

  • Eggplants
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow (summer) Squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Tomatoes (any Kind Works)
  • Italian Spice Blend
  • Salt And Pepper
  • Italian Sausage
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Anise Or Fennel
  • Canned Crushed Tomatoes
  • Canned Tomato Paste
  • Red Wine Or Water Or V8 Juice

Preparation

Step 1-the roasted veggies. Gather as many as you have/want of the first 4 ingredients, chop into large cubes. Toss with some olive oil, red wine vinegar, and spices (or use bottled Italian salad dressing or balsamic vinaigrette).

Spread cubed veggies in a shallow pan, add cloves of garlic, and roast at 400 degrees for 20-40 minutes until they’ve given up their liquid but are not burnt.

Set aside to cool, and then if you (or your picky kids) prefer, toss into a food processor to finely chop or even puree. Seriously, my kids knowingly eat eggplant this way.

Step 2-the tomatoes. I’ve used so many kinds of tomatoes and they all work-for a slicing tomato cut into quarters. For a Roma or plum tomato cut in half. For a cherry tomato leave whole.

Drizzle olive oil on a shallow roasting pan. Add tomatoes cut side up. Drizzle more olive oil on top, and sprinkle Italian seasoning blend, salt and pepper over top.

Roast at 400 degrees for 20-40 minutes or until dried but not charred. Set aside to cool, then remove skins (they should come right off though your fingers get messy) and place in a bowl. Add a healthy pinch of sugar.

Step 3-the meat. Break up the Italian sausage links and cook in a large Dutch oven over medium until evenly browned. Remove to cool and roughly chop (or toss in the food processor and pulse a couple of times).

Step 4-the veggie base. Finely chop (or toss in the food processor) some onion, celery, carrot, and fennel (also known as anise). Add to the Dutch oven used to cook the sausage. Saute over medium heat until softened.

Step 5-bring it all together. To the veggies in the Dutch oven add the tomatoes, the meat, the roasted veggies. Stir to combine.

Add 1 or 2 cans of tomato paste (and 1 or 2 cans of red wine/water/V8 juice) and a large can of crushed tomatoes. If it still seems thick, add more tomato paste or crushed tomatoes.

Simmer over medium low heat for an hour or until you remember it, add salt and pepper to taste.

This freezes well in quart size Ziploc bags. My family uses about 3 generous cups for a meal of spaghetti, so to fill my Dutch oven (and empty my veggie crisper) I use about 2-4 Asian and 4 small round eggplants, 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, most of a package of mushrooms, 1 head garlic, 1 onion, 3 or 4 quarts of any kind of tomatoes, 1 lb Italian sausage, a generous cup each chopped celery, carrot, and fennel, 2 cans of tomato paste, and 1 large (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes.

From this I get 6 qt-sized bags to freeze. And an empty veggie drawer until the next farm share!

One Comment

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azmtcowgirl98 on 7.1.2010

So funny – I love the vagueness of the recipe because that is exactly how I cook.. I also am involved with a CSA and love it. Thanks for the recipe!

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