January is halfway over. Isn’t that crazy? For me, the first month is always a bit confusing – we’ve eaten all these cookies and other feasts around the holidays and we’re expected to just go clean come the New Year. To add to that, it’s also the coldest month of the year. I try to eat healthy generally, but the wintry skies gently nudge me to stay at home and splurge on a hearty meal. You guys still following me?
I’ve never been a big believer in diets, but I do occasionally cave into peer pressure to eat cleaner than I usually do during January. But let’s be realistic here: all you want in the middle of winter is a huge helping of pasta loaded with cheese. Tell me I’m not alone here.
With limited daylight and hours of staying in with movies, I resort back to my old and trusted recipes. So here, I give you my tomato sauce with sausages and mushrooms. I can’t recall how long I’ve been making this, but I do know that it was inspired by Food Wishes. It almost always is. If you watch the video, then you’ll see that I went my own way with this, but Chef John definitely paved the tomato sauce trail for me.
The beauty of recipes like these is that it is adaptable – I know it may not be the Italian way to make tomato sauce, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste delicious. This can easily be made vegan by removing the sausages and the seasoning can be adjusted as well. However, I stand by my choice to use Sriracha sauce – it is never a bad addition.
Did I also mention this is great as leftovers?
Tomato Sauce with Sausages and Mushrooms
Inspired by Food Wishes
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 Italian sausages (about half a pound)
2/3 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon Sriracha
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
28 ounces San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add sausages and brown them for 7-10 minutes, rotating them as they warm up; they do not need to be cooked through. Remove them from the pan and set aside to cool.
Add chopped onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes and then add sliced mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sauté and stir occasionally for 7-10 minutes, or until the onions and mushrooms are soft. If all the oil is absorbed, add a little bit more before tossing in the chopped garlic. Let the garlic warm up for a minute, and make sure they don’t burn. Next, add the spices – crush the dried thyme between your fingers before adding them in, toss in bay leaf, and cayenne pepper. Let these all warm up for a minute or so.
Add Sriracha and balsamic vinegar and cook for 2 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Carefully add the crushed tomatoes in with a cup of cold water. I recommend swishing the water in the empty tomato can before adding it to the sauce.
Stir and bring to a boil, then back to a gentle simmer. Chop or slice the sausages into bite-size portions and add them to the sauce. Lastly, throw in chopped parsley and give it another stir.
Let the tomato sauce simmer uncovered for an hour and a half. Stir occasionally and you may need to add splashes of cold water from time to time. Be sure to taste for final seasoning.
Pair this with pasta and garnish with cheese and extra parsley.