When luscious tomatoes are growing on your vines or you can get your hands on fresh ripe tomatoes, then make this sauce. It takes a little time but it’s so worth the effort. You’ll appreciate the robust flavors without all the additives of other bottled or commercial sauces on the market.
I’ve not been one to grow much more than a few herbs in pots or the occasional tomato plant over the years, but when I had planter boxes built this year, my narrative changed. I’m now the proud producer of tantalizing (and abundant) crops of tomatoes including Roma, cherry and Early girls. I’ve also got a bumper crop of zucchini, but that’s a different post.
I love fresh marinara sauce, but wanted something more meaty so added the Italian turkey sausage and ground beef to this sauce. It creates a hearty sauce worthy of your best Italian dishes like my Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, Zucchini Lasagna. or Baked Italian-Style Cauliflower. But if you want to top a bowlful with Parmesan cheese and eat it just like that, you don’t need my permission.
Peel and chop your Roma tomatoes first (see tip in recipe below). Then saute the onion, garlic, turkey sausage and ground beef in a large skillet, cooking the meats until completely browned. Then add the tomatoes, a little low-sugar grape jelly, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir it all together and let it reduce down by at least a third to your desired consistency. This will take some time, like 30 to 40 minutes on a medium simmer, so be patient, stirring it occasionally while you wait. . . . Greatness requires patience at times.
- Fresh Tomato Turkey Sausage Marinara Sauce
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound Italian-seasoned turkey sausage (casings removed)
- 2 pounds roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (see Notes below)
- 1/4 cup sugar-free or low-sugar grape jam
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil leaves
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, ground beef and turkey sausage; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in tomatoes, jam, balsamic vinegar, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes or until reduced by a third, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese and serve with your favorite pasta.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
To Peel Tomatoes: use a sharp knife to cut a shallow “X” into the blossom end of each tomato. Working in batches, immerse tomatoes in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes or until the skins begin to split open. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, use your fingers or a knife to peel off skin.
Substitution: If fresh tomatoes are not available, substitute two (28-ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped.
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