Whenever I make this tomato sauce I'm reminded of my grandmother. She was a fantastic cook that could make almost any Italian dish without a recipe. She also was amazingly good at making food appear out of nothing. She would just look at what dried, frozen or canned ingredients she had in the house and somehow make a really nice meal from them. One thing that she always had frozen in the house were Italian fennel sausages. They were usually broken into pieces and mixed with beef mince in her lasagna. Occasionally she would make a rich tomato sauce out of the sausages serve it with a steaming bowl of spaghetti.
I now serve it with wholewheat pasta or spelt pasta because my tastes have matured a bit, but on the whole this is a recipe that Grandma would be proud of.
Grandma's Tomato Sauce
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil (for those of you who don't like to measure, a good glug)
1/2 an Onion or the white part of1 leek, diced
a large pinch of fennel seeds
1/4 of a red pepper, diced
4 Quigliano's Sausages (Italian Sausages)
2 Cans of diced tomatoes
Salt to taste
a pinch of hot pepper flakes
Heat the olive oil in a pot and fry the onion, fennel seeds and yellow pepper for 2 minutes. Remove the sausage meat from the casing and break into small pieces. Add the sausage pot and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sausages are browned. Add the two cans of diced tomatoes and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and hot pepper flakes as needed. Let simmer for at least another 10 minutes. This sauce can be served immediately but is best if left to sit overnight before serving.
You can also add minced vegetables such as courgettes, spinach, mushrooms or white beans to this sauce. Add the vegetables a few minutes before you serve the sauce so that they don't get over cooked.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 27 minutes