This is another one of the first recipes I learned how to make when I took the plunge in to cooking. We went to Massachusetts to visit my sister and her family late last year. She made this (with meatballs, which that recipe will follow later), and I was amazed. I asked her for the recipe, and she said she would try to come up with it in writing for me. I asked her what she meant, and she said she learned it from watching her husband’s late Italian grandmother make it every Sunday. My sister would watch her make it, and of course the grandmother didn’t measure anything out as I trust she had been making it for 50 plus years.
The below is the best my sister could guestimate watching her. You will not be disappointed!
Red pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped
4 gloves of garlic
1 pound of ground beef (or sausage, lamb, or any combination of the 3)
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 tsp oregano
Basil (6ish fresh leaves or Tbsp or less of dried)
Heat thin layer of oil in large sauce pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes. Add onion and cook until a bit translucent or soft. Add meat and cook through. Make a well in the center of the pot and add the garlic, cooking for one minute or so. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, oregano, and basil (if using dried). If using fresh basil, add it 15 minutes before ready to serve.
Bring to a boil; turn down to a bubbly simmer for a couple of hours. Stir occasionally. Serve over whatever pasta is your preference. Ours is penne.
Recipe adapted from my sisters grandmother-in-law.