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Homemade Tomato Meat Pasta Sauce

Fall seems to be the busiest time of year for me. My favorite non-profits start a new season of activities, French Class stars up again and work gets a little more hectic.  When I get home after a long day/evening out, sometimes I want a nice home cooked relatively healthy meal.  One of my easy go to meals on days like this is a simple Tomato Meat Sauce for pasta.  I usually make a very large batch once or twice a year and package them into smaller (single, double or triple) serving contains. I then freeze these containers and can have a nice home cooked meal with little notice.  I’m not delusional – I know pasta isn’t all that healthy, but I eat it in moderation an know exactly what goes into it.

Saturday night I made a huge double portion of my Homemade Tomato Meat Pasta Sauce.  My Le Creuset nearly wasn’t big enough.  Here is my recipe (which is actually a combination of a few different bolognese sauces and simple tomato sauces):

  • 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 4 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled and Diced
  • 2 Medium Yellow Onions, Diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Pressed
  • 2.5 Pounds Ground Beef (80/20), cooked with fat drained
  • 4 28 Ounce Cans of Good Diced Tomatoes (no herbs added)
  • 2 6 Ounce Cans of Tomato Paste
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Before you start this recipe, prepare everything. Clean, Dice, Peel, Cook (the beef) and Open (all the cans).  
  1. Once you are fully prepared, start by heating your biggest stock pot (with this recipe, you’ll need a pot that holds at least 28 cups) with the Olive Oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the celery, carrots and onions. Cook until the celery, carrots and onions are soft and aromatic – about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the Garlic and cook for 2 minutes until aromatic.
  3. Add the Cooked Beef (again, make sure the fat is trained) and the Diced Tomatoes.
  4. Add the Salt and Pepper to taste.
  5. Bring this to a boil and add the Tomato Paste. I love Tomatoes — adding two cans of Paste really kicks up the Tomato Flavor. If you want less Tomato Flavor (WHY?) then only use one can of Paste.
  6. Add the Oregano and reduce the heat and cover. Simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes taste the sauce. Does it need more pepper? More Oregano? More Salt. Adjust to your tastes.
I serve this over fresh pasta. For an entree portion of pasta I find that 3/4 cup of sauce is good per person. Once this cools, let it rest in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, dish this into smaller freezer safe dishes and freeze. I’ve kept these in the freezer for 3-4 month and had no issues. I am sure they will last longer — I just wouldn’t know because I eat it long before it goes bad.

A night of cooking and a
very full Le Creuset
Do you find yourself making comfort food like this in the fall? What is your favorite pasta sauce recipe? Do you make a huge batch and freeze or just do it as needed?  Do you think 12 ounces of tomato past is too much here?

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