2-4 Large Cans of Italian Tomatoes (use the 28-35oz size)
2-4 small 6 oz.cans of Tomato Paste
1 large Onions
3-4 Banana Peppers (Italian)
8 oz fresh Mushrooms Red Table Wine - Chianti

Fresh Italian Parsley Dried herbs- Rosemary, Basil, Oregano Fresh Italian Sausage
3lbs Olive Oil Use Braciole and/or Italian Meatballs recipe
Artichoke or two (optional)

(Please note: This recipe for sauce takes 10-15 hours of cooking, preferably overnight simmering)

  1. Put the canned pear-shaped Italian tomatoes in a large stainless steel pan, soup kettle, etc. 8-10 quart size, and chop them thoroughly. Retain one of the empty tomato cans on your counter to hold the long wooden spoon that you will use to stir the sauce during the cooking process. This tin can will also be used to periodically add water as the tomatoes cook down. Start with at least one full can of water added to the tomatoes.

  2. Bring tomatoes to a boil and then reduce to a comfortable simmer and cook for hours and hours. Place a metal or iron heat separator between the pan and the gas burner top from the point the tomatoes first boils until the time the meal is served! If you cook overnight put the heat at the lowest possible simmer since the sauce will not be stirred for several hours. Otherwise, periodically stir the tomatoes and whenever they appear to be cooking down a fair amount, add water. (Caution: If fate has it that the sauce "burns" or sticks a lot to the bottom of the pan during cooking, DO NOT SCRAPE the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to remove the stuck part. This will let the "burnt" pieces will get all mixed in your sauce and greatly affect the flavor. Just leave it there until you are all done and ready to wash the pan! From here on turn down the flame some more and stir the sauce more frequently. Your sauce can thus, survive this potential catastrophe.)

  3. The sauce will slower get thicker and a very dark, rich color. The tomatoes will no longer be acidic and thus no need to add some sugar as many recipes for short cooked sauce call for. During the entire cooking process I would guess that you would add the equivalent of one can of water per can of tomatoes used. Remember that the paste will be the final thickening agent to achieve the right consistency for serving.

  4. When you are within two hours of the desire meal you can begin the preparation of the meats you will use of the three offered: Sausages, Meatballs or Braciole. Depending on the quantity of sauce your are making and the special occasion of the meal… or not, will determine if you use one, two or all three of the meats. If Braciole is used it is certainly time not to add it to the sauce. (see that recipe for instructions.) I usually cook the meatballs in the oven on a large sheet pan. Sausages are first browned and cooked a while in a large skillet with some olive oil to start. Then they are added to the sauce to finish cooking.

  5. Using the same skillet after the sausage cooked and were added to the sauce, begin to sauté the onions and peppers after chopping them into fairly small pieces. Use a generous amount of Olive Oil. After they are partially cooked add the chopped mushrooms. After the veggies are thoroughly cooked add them to the tomato sauce.

  6. Add dry seasonings (one hour of cooking time remaining approximately) in reasonable quantities of say, one heaping teaspoon each (less rosemary than the basil and oregano). If you have an artichoke or two available, now is a good time to add them to the sauce. If you wish you could stuff them with a bread crumb, egg, parsley, and parmesan cheese mixture and tie into the top of the chokes after searing them top down in the skillet to seal in the stuffing. Artichokes add a great flavor to the sauce and will be an added dish for the meal.

  7. Take nearly a full bunch of fresh Italian Parsley and remove the leaves and chop them. Add a large amount of parsley to this sauce, possible 2/3 to a full cup of chopped parsley. Fresh Italian Parsley is the most important seasoning in this recipe.

  8. With one half hour or less of cooking time remaining it is now time to add the tomato paste. Remember one small can per large can of tomatoes… this ratio always works!

  9. Remove the artichokes and any meat in the sauce just prior to adding the paste or after it has been in the sauce long enough to be thoroughly assimilated into the sauce.

  10. If you haven't already started a large part of water heating for the pasta of your choice, it is certainly the time to do that now!

  11. Add less than a cup of wine to the sauce now if you so choose to add some for additional flavor.

COMMENTS: This is certainly worth this considerable effort and will wow any dinner guests. Yet this is certainly only an occasional effort and that is why I recommend the largest quantity your pans can handle. If you used a full four large cans of tomatoes and a couple of meats will yield enough for a small Italian wedding party. Thus, you should have enough sauce to eat pasta another couple of times within the same week and much left to freeze in meal-sized containers. I must warn you though, that if you follow this recipe and succeed, you will be hooked for life and will only be able to cook sauce this way OR simple open a jar of Classico when desperate. There will be no in-between! Serve with a good Italian or French bread and lots of red wine.

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