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Hearty Red Sauce Recipe

Before cooking this recipe last weekend, it had been a very long time since I’d made a good red sauce.  Time, of course, has been my main limiting factor as of late.  But last Sunday morning, I took the time and wow, was it worth it.  It’s not that the prep takes a long time, it’s that this sauce really should simmer for about two hours for maximum tastiness.

So, why should it cook so long?
The answer is – water! Tomatoes are naturally packed with water – up to 95%, depending on the variety.  The water is not where the flavor is in the tomato so ridding the tomato of the water without sacrificing the flavor is key.  The most effective way to remove the water is to cook the sauce for a long period of time.  This will produce a very rich, thick and tasty sauce that won’t run all over your plate.  For the size of the sauce made here, 2 hours was a good amount of time to cook.

While I chose to serve this over pasta, you could also use it as a pizza sauce topping. And it  would also make an amazing lasagne.   The best part is that this sauce also freezes well for later use.

Hearty Red Sauce Recipe

Yield: 8-10 dinner-size portions

Hearty Red Sauce Recipe

A delicious rich and hearty recipe for red sauce. Features ground duck and pork sausage for an extra special treat.


  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4-15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 4-15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 pound fresh (not smoked) ground duck & pork sausage, casings removed (substitute ground pork if you can’t find this type of sausage)
  • 1 box of pasta, boiled according to package directions
  • Garnish:  freshly grated cheese such as Grana Padano or Parmesan, to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat and cook the onions and celery for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add in the kosher salt while cooking.
  2. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes, until very fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and the herbs and spices.  Stir very well to incorporate all of the ingredients.  Taste the sauce and add a little more salt if it is bland.
  5. After mixing well, lower the heat to medium and place lid on pot, leaving a crack for steam to vent.
  6. While this is simmering, brown the loose sausage in a separate skillet.
  7. Once cooked through, stir sausage into the sauce and replace lid with a crack for steam venting. The sausage should throw very little fat so mix it all in the sauce.
  8. Simmer sauce for two hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so to make sure it is not sticking
  9. Serve over pasta garnished with freshly grated cheese.

Prep:25 min

Cook:2 hours 15 min

Total:2 hours 40 min

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