Last night we had the most rib-stickin’, hearty, rustic pasta sauce poured over perfectly al dente short noodles. The only thing missing was the weather. My husband has been “pretending it’s winter” in hopes that the weather might take notice and this heat wave in Southern California will give it a rest. So far his efforts have been in vain. I told him to keep it up at least 3 months if he really wanted to see any progress.
But he’s insistent on pretending that winter is around the corner and I’ll continue to oblige him because, for better or worse, am I right?
Last week I nearly had a heat stroke making my Rustic Pot Roast on a blazingly hot night. The family enjoyed the delicious meal, while I napped under the A/C.
This week he requested a hearty loaded tomato sauce over big noodles, and I stepped up to the plate with a Semi-Homemade version of a classic dish. It’s part Ragu, part Bolognese, and all delicious.
In cooler temperatures, I am all about making a sauce from scratch, but in this heat I decided to get a little bit of help in the tomato sauce department. Instead of making a Homemade Marinara, I opted for a jarred version.
I grabbed 2 jars of Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Marinara. 100% hand-selected plum tomatoes. No added sugar. No paste. No shortcuts. Sounds good to me!
But seriously, in the heat, when making homemade sauce is just too much to handle, these Mezzetta sauces are a godsend. And it makes making a big pot of Sunday Sauce that normally takes around 12 hours a lot easier. My husband couldn’t tell the difference between my homemade sauce and the jarred stuff, which will make my life easier in a pinch in the future.
2 jars yields about 3 BIG canning jars worth of Sunday Sauce, enough for at least 3 meals and it freezes beautifully. It’s also a fantastic addition to a simple gift basket, just add a package of dried noodles, a loaf of French Bread and a triangle of Parmesan. Great for new moms!
I call this recipe “Simple Sunday Sauce” because it’s really the perfect meal for a Sunday family supper. Plus it takes almost all day to cook, so a Sunday is the ideal to make it and could easily be transferred over to a slow cooker if you need to head to church or a baseball game, and have it be ready when you get home.
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 pound pork, cut into cubes
- 1 pound chuck roast, cubed
- 3 ounces pancetta, diced (bacon will work in a pinch)
- 2 jars Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Marinara
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Italian Herbs
- In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil on medium high heat.
- Add the cubed pork and beef in small batches until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
- Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and pancetta and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are soft.
- Increase the heat to medium high and add the beef and pork back into the pot. Let the meat and veggies sear a bit to get some brown edges to add a deeper flavor, about 10 minutes.
- Add the wine to deglaze the pot and scrape up the brown bits.
- Add heavy cream and reduce heat. Simmer about 10 minutes.
- Add marinara sauce and fresh herbs. Simmer for another 10 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover pot and reduce heat to lowest setting. At this point you can also transfer the sauce to a slow cooker. Let sauce simmer for at least 6 hours or until the meat is tender.
- Stir every couple hours if able.
- Serve over short noodles.
- Store unused sauce in large canning jars. Can be frozen for 3 months.