Fast Marinara

Ingredients

  • 1 jar Prego 67 oz. traditional sauce (or any brand)
  • 2 16 oz cans diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups red wine (cabernet or burgundy)
  • 1 tbsp. basil (dry)
  • 3 tbsp. blended Italian seasoning (dry)
  • 4 tbsp. minced garlic (wet, not dry)
  • 1 lb. crimini mushrooms roughly 1-2 inch cap size (portabellas work too) sliced top to bottom about a quarter to half-inch thick (NOTE: I general cut the stem off completely)
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef or ground Italian sausage (not links)
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (optional)
  • Olive oil

Preparation

  1. Set large burner to medium (about a 6-7)
  2. In a large pot, pour in the base traditional sauce
  3. Pour the wine into the jar, close the lid, shake, and pour contents into pot
  4. Drain both cans of Italian tomatoes and add remainder to pot
  5. Add 1 tbsp. basil to pot
  6. Add 2 tbsp. of Italian seasoning to the pot
  7. Add 2 tbsp. minced garlic to pot
  8. Occasionally stir pot as it heats while preparing the meat, onions, and mushrooms. Reduce the heat to low-medium (about a 2-3) once the whole thing starts to bubble consistently
  9. Set second large burner to high.
  10. In a very large frying pan (I use a 15-inch x 4 inch deep pan) coat the bottom with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  11. Add in the ground beef or ground Italian sausage, and sauté until fully cooked throughout
  12. When the meat is done, add it directly to the pot you’ve been stirring this whole time
  13. In the still-hot frying pan, add about 2 tbsp. olive oil
  14. Add in the diced white onion
  15. Add in the paprika
  16. Add in the remaining 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  17. Sauté until the onion begins to grow clear and fully cooked
  18. Add in one more tbsp. of olive oil
  19. Add in the sliced mushrooms
  20. Sauté the whole for another 8 minutes, stirring to blend everything together and cook down the mushrooms somewhat
  21. Add the whole mixture directly to the sauce that should now be hot enough to serve
  22. Mix the complete sauce for another 5 minutes, reduce heat, and serve

Serving

This sauce can be used on any sort of plain pasta. It’s also good with ravioli or in a lasagna. I’ve used it on home made pizza, but it’s not quite right in that setting. Basically, it’s a marinara sauce, so use it any way you see fit. Because it’s chunky, it’s good just as a topper to garlic bread when you want a fast meal.

Any extra sauce can be refrigerated for some time or frozen for later use.

Alternatives

Some people use steak or chicken or plain pork in their sauce, so that’s an option here. My mother used to add fish to a marinara, which I could never eat, but she seemed to enjoy it. You can increase or decrease the Italian seasoning, garlic, and paprika to your taste as well, but this recipe has been knocking folks socks off for about 30 years, so it’s worth trying as is.

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