ahhh spring. I feel like classic Italian. My local grocery had Italian sausage on special and I have all this free Basil and Eggplant in my backyard so I made a big silly pot of spicy tomato sauce with roasted peppers and sausage.
The Italians are geniuses at maximizing the pleasure of food without breaking the wallet so I drew upon my own heritage for this month's grub.
My Mise en place ( for those who don't know this means "all in place")
2 large cans tomato puree
1 large can crushed tomato
5 cloves garlic par-roasted ( I'll explain later)
I large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic pureed
1 skinned, roasted red bell pepper
mushrooms, rough chopped large pieces
some eggplant, chopped,
1 TB crushed black pepper corns
1 tsp chili powder
good handful of Basil, chiffonade.
1 bottle of good dry red wine, I used a simple Cabernet Sauvignon but use what you have, no worries.
2 #'s Italian sausage.
1/4 cup dried oregano ( but Nick you say to always use fresh !! in this case I prefer the flavors of dried, get over it.)
2 bay leaves
Now, get out your blowtorch. Don't have one? Get your butt to Homo-depot and get one. It's terrific for skinning peppers and tomato.
After you char the skin off, place it in a plastic bag and let it steam for a bit, then wipe off the skin. Seed it and slice, done.
Semi-brown off your sausage. ( I only cut them in half) put them back in your fridge, wait for it.
Hey you know what would be cool? Let's take some garlic cloves and par-roast them. Heat up your smallest saute pan, add oil and throw the cloves in it, re-set to a low heat until they start looking a little roasted, turn them over, let them cook just for a little bit and remove from heat. if you need to, cut them up a little, save the oil.
Once sweated through throw in all remaining seasonings. (oregano, bay leaf blah blah) add tomato stuff. Bring back to simmer and reduce for about an hour. Add the peppers, par-roasted garlic and mushrooms. pour half the bottle of red wine into the pot and the other half into yourself. VIVA ITALIA !!
Just before you take it off heat add the Basil chiffonade. Do this by stacking the leaves and rolling them into a cigar then use a sharp knife to make tiny ribbon slices.