On a busy night, you can take one of the quarts of Simple Tomato Sauce and use it as a base to build an interesting sauce to serve over pasta, a surprising stew to ladle over rice, or a comforting soup made complete with a warm baguette.
Cook up some pasta, gnocchi, or ravioli. Once you’ve drained the cooked pasta, return it to the pot, toss it with one-third of the sauce, and divide among 4 pasta plates. Top each with a portion of the remaining sauce, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano), and a little drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Each generous quart container of sauce is enough for 12 to 16 ounces of pasta—enough to serve 4 or 5 people.
You can use ground beef or bulk Italian sausage in place of the meatloaf mix.
Vegetable Tomato Sauce
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and pepper flakes and cook until vegetables soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes. Use the wine or water to rinse out the cans and add to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the sauce thickens and the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add enough tomato paste so that you’ve made a thick, full-bodied sauce, not soup (see Note). Simmer to blend the flavors, a few minutes longer. Cool the sauce and divide it among 3 sealed containers. (Can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or frozen for several months.)
- Cook: 2 ounces (4 thin slices) prosciutto, minced, in a couple of teaspoons olive oil in large saucepan or small pot over mediumhigh heat until they turn brown, a couple of minutes.
- Add: 1 pound meatloaf mix (a mix of pork, veal, and beef). Cook until it loses its raw color, then spoon off excess fat. Add a generous quart Vegetable Tomato Sauce and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in: ¼ cup heavy cream and simmer a couple of minutes longer. Adjust the seasonings and serve.