May 7, 2010

Cooking for a Crowd - Marinara Sauce

Tonight is Little-man's Scout Camp Fundraiser Spaghetti Dinner and Auction. Because I'm related to Little-man, I get to bring marinara sauce for a crowd, along with a dessert or two for auction. Lucky me!

Actually, I do feel lucky because Little-man loves Boy Scouts and his Troop is pretty awesome.
Marinara Sauce For a Crowd 
(great for freezing!)
Makes 2 LARGE stock pot's full
4 lb. ground Italian sausage (spicy is optional)
1ea. 8 oz. pkg. mushrooms (optional)
3 large fresh garlic cloves
1/3 c. salt (or more depending on taste)
1 T. pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional—to taste)
1 1/2 lb. mini carrots finely blended/diced
1 bunch celery finely blended/diced
3 medium white onions/diced
Other vegetables-optional (zucchini, peppers, etc.)
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 T. basil (Add at the end of the cooking process to retain it's flavor)
2 T. sugar
1 ea. 6 lb. 10 oz. can tomato puree
1 ea. 6 lb. 10 oz. can diced or stewed tomatoes - including juice
4 ea 6 oz. cans tomato paste for thickening (optional)

Hand dice (or use a food processor) carrots, onions, mushrooms and celery (and any other vegetables) into small chunks. Sauté vegetables and spices in a large saucepan with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Split vegetables into two large dutch ovens.  Using same saute pan, cook sausage.
Split sausage and tomatoes evenly into dutch ovens. (For a smooth red sauce, puree all tomatoes and ingredients together with a hand blender/wand- they work great!). Or, for meatier sauce, puree tomatoes only, and leave other ingredients in chunks.

Allow sauce to simmer 2-5 hours on low with out the lid, sauce should reduce about one third. Add basil right before serving. Taste to make sure sauce does not need any more salt, sugar or seasoning.

Simmer on stove or in roaster pan until thick. Let sauce cool and then freeze in Tupperware or freezer bags for later meals.
This recipe makes TWO of these!