My husband, Ryan, will run his fourth marathon in about 4 weeks. In addition to these races, he has run a few 5k's, half-marathons, and a triathlon. His long training runs happen Saturday mornings--thus from now until the marathon, every Friday is dedicated to carb-loading. Instead of doing the standard spaghetti sauce over noodles, I've been finding new and interesting ways to present the needed carbs. Last Friday, Taste of Home (June/July 2009) provided me with the recipe for Summertime Spaghetti Sauce.
It was definitely different than the spaghetti standard and we both enjoyed it. Ryan commented a few times that it was good, but tasted different than he expected. That's probably because he didn't see the recipe and expected it to taste like normal, boring red sauce. He also said that it's probably something he would request again. That's always a good sign.
Summertime Spaghetti Sauce
5 cups of sauce
3 Italian sausage links (4 oz. each)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
3 cups chopped, seeded, peeled tomatoes (about 8 medium)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Remove casings from sausage; cut into 1-in. pieces. In large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in same skillet; add onions and green pepper. Cook and stir until tender.
Add tomatoes, jalapeno, brown sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Return sausage to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 min. or until meat is no longer pink and sauce is thickened.
Serve over spaghetti with parmesan cheese.
NOTES: I used 5 Italian sausages. Mine came in a pack of 5 and I no other use for the extra 2--so I added them. Also, after I removed the casings, the sausages had nothing to help them keep their shape. I still cut them into chunks and added them to the pan. I carefully sauteed them and didn't break them up. They ended up looking like little meatballs.
After cooking the sausage, there wasn't a ton of grease. There was just enough to give a sheen to the bottom of the pan. So, instead of cooking the veggies in oil, I just added them to the pan. Their small amount of liquid helped loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. YUM!
I used a yellow bell pepper, (it's what I had), and only 2 onions. I also used Roma tomatoes, and since they're more firm than other varieties, I didn't seed or peel my tomatoes. (Really, I just didn't see that instruction. But, honestly, who has time for that?) The sauce was probably meant to be a little thicker, but it still tasted fantastic. If you choose not to seed your tomatoes and want thicker sauce, just plan for it to simmer for an hour or two so it can cook down a bit.
One more thing: Remember when handling the jalapeno that it is spicy. Don't rub your eyes, touch your face, etc. immediately after cutting it. I used a strawberry huller to scrape out the seeds from mine and then washed my hands. There was definitely a slight burning before I washed them!