Homemade Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce
This is a recipe I’ve been making for 15 years (both with and without meat). Once I started making homemade pasta sauce, I haven’t gone back to the stuff in the jar. I love that I can control the ingredients. Did you know that most pasta sauce has sugar in it?! I’m not a fan of unnecessary sugar. Not to mention it is incredibly easy to make yourself. Don’t forget to make extra and freeze (or can) for future use! I use this sauce for regular pasta or in my lasagna, basically any pasta dish that requires red sauce, this is my go to. Sometimes I change the meat to just a standard ground venison, but once I discovered venison Italian sausage, I was hooked!
*I've linked some of my favorite brands of items below if you are curious what exactly I use.
1 lb. ground venison Italian sausage
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbl garlic (approx 2-3 cloves)
1 chopped medium white onion
28 oz crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp bay leaves (approximately 5 leaves if you buy them whole)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground venison Italian sausage, onion, and garlic. (You can also use store bought Italian sausage. I have done this when we don’t have a venison version in the freezer. You can get the store bought in the freezer section.) Cook this mixture until the meat is browned and the onion is transparent.
Side note: currently my 8 year old daughter will not eat anything if it appears to have a speck of onion in it. So, instead of chopping the onion, I puree it so that she can’t see it and I still get the flavor. When I do this, I add the onion at the same time I add the tomatoes instead of sautéing with the meat and garlic.
Next, add tomatoes, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 30-60 minutes. The original recipe recommended 60 minutes, but let’s be honest, who has time for that? I surely don’t. So most of the time I only have time for 30 minutes while I’m doing other things and I can assure you it comes out just as delicious. I’ve even done it for less time if I’m really pressed for time, and no taste is sacrificed whatsoever from what I can tell! Any amount of simmer time is better than store bought, so I wouldn’t be afraid to try this recipe even if you find yourself short on time.
Lastly, scoop a generous amount on top of your favorite pasta and enjoy! Just make sure you remove the bay leaves prior to serving. Have leftovers? This sauce tastes amazing the next day as well and I’m am NOT a gal that eats leftovers. I am extremely selective with what will make it to day 2 and this sauce passes that test! I find that if you store leftovers in glass containers rather than plastic, it also makes the food taste so much better! Here are the glass containers I use, if you are interested.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!