Here's one from the archives of my meat-eating days. Let me say upfront this is a lengthy process - but WELL worth it. This sauce has so much flavor, so many levels, I can still remember it even though I haven't made it in years. Incredible over pasta, and I think it would also make a killer lasagna! 


  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon beef base or 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 celery rib, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, finely chopped
  • 3/4 pound ground beef (not lean)
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Purée tomatoes and their juice in blender until smooth; set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a simmer; whisk in tomato paste and beef base. Remove from heat; set aside.

Make a battuto (the foundation for many Italian soups, stews and sauces) by finely chopping together (by hand) celery, onion and carrot.
In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat until melted and foaming; add battuto, sausage and pancetta. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sausage is broken into small bits, then continue cooking, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened (do not brown), about 25 minutes.

Add beef, pork and veal; increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring until meat is broken into small bits, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for 10 minutes more (do not brown).

Add wine; bring to a boil and cook until wine and juices in pot are mostly evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Add reserved puréed tomato, reserved beef base mixture and bay leaf.
Cook ragù at the barest simmer, stirring occasionally (making sure to stir into edges of pot), until meat is very tender and sauce is thick (as sauce thickens, add water, bit by bit, if necessary, to keep sauce moist and just barely liquid), about
2 1/2  hours.

Add milk and continue cooking for 30 minutes more. Stir in pinch nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

To serve:
Toss the ragù with pasta using 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of sauce per pound of pasta. Serve immediately with cheese.


Tomato Basil Sauce - wonderful with your favourite pasta or use as a sauce for homemade pizza...

Pantry Must Haves
(Makes enough for 8 x1 pint jars of sauce) 

Olive oil 2-3 onions - chopped
6-8 cloves garlic - diced
6 - 8 fresh tomatoes
3 x 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 x  6oz cans tomato paste  
1 tsp sugar
Large bunch fresh basil - chopped
Salt and pepper 
Saute onions and garlic on low heat until soft and golden.  
Blanch fresh tomatoes and remove skins.  Add to onion and garlic and then add diced tomatoes.  Stir in tomato paste and simmer on low heat for approx 30 minutes.  Add salt, pepper and sugar and towards the end of cooking, stir through chopped basil.
Puree in batches in food processor or blender for a few seconds only (NOTE: you want sauce to be thick and rustic-y!).
Pour into pre- boiled jars and seal.
(Will keep in fridge for up to a week)

Nikki xx

On the weekends I love to cook in big batches. I spend a few hours in the kitchen and I save TONS of time during the week. It helps me not have to start dinners from scratch every night. It helps me be able to have grab and go lunches in the fridge and freezer to save me time in the mornings.

One of the things I made today was marinara. I made a lot of it and now I’m ready to go. Marinara is a great base for so many things! It can be used as a sauce on pizza, chicken/eggplant parmesan, simple sauce for pasta, dip for mozzarella sticks, eggs in purgatory, base for tomato soup, base for arrabbiata, and so much more. The possibilities are really endless. The best part is that it’s CHEAP. I bought a 105 oz. can of plain tomato sauce for $2.45 at my local big box store. All in all, I got about 15 cups of sauce for about $4.00!
  • 105 oz. plain tomato sauce (I buy from big box store, or you could buy (7) 15oz cans.
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (can use more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons dried Italian basil
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook 10-12 minutes until the onions soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to low and add garlic. Stir to mix and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add red chili flakes, oregano, and basil. Cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring well. 

Using a spatula, scrape mixture into a blender or food processor. Meanwhile, place the pot back over medium-high heat and add tomato sauce. Blend the mixture in the blender or processor until smooth. 

Add smooth mixture back to pot with tomato sauce. Stir to blend and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour. Use immediately, or cool and store in fridge or freezer.

Turkey Gravy (made from drippings) 

Set aside at room temperature 2 tbl unsalted butter and 2-3 tbl Wondra Flour. Strain juices from pan (removing solids) into gravy separator. Add some fat from drippings, along with flour and butter into pan, deglazing over high heat to form a paste, then add in the non-fat drippings, and a cup or two of chicken stock (just go by how much drippings you have - if little, add a lot of stock). Continue reducing, carefully sprinkling in Wondra as needed to thicken. Add kosher salt and pepper, as needed. 

Click HERE to link to Lisa's page and read more!
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest 
1 cup reserved cooking water see directions below 
1 tsp. plus 1/4 cup olive oil divided 
1 bunch Asparagus 
1/4 tsp. salt 

Wash the asparagus. Cut off the tips and place them in a small bowl and set aside.
Snap about 1 inch off the bottom of the asparagus stalks and discard these pieces.
Cut the remaining stalks small enough to fit into either a food processor or blender and place in a pot of about 3 cups of boiling water. 
Cook until slightly firm, about 8-10 minutes.
Drain, saving 1 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat 1 tsp. of olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus tips and saute them, shaking the pan occasionally, until cooked to your liking. (watch so they don't burn) Lower heat if necessary.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine the cooked stalks, remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, 3/4 cup cheese, the lemon zest, salt and pepper and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water. Blend until smooth. Check the sauce for consistency. If you like it thinner, add a little more of the reserved cooking water and process again.
I usually double the batch and freeze half of the sauce.
Best served with penne like pasta. Top pasta servings with asparagus tips, more parmesan and lemon wedges squeezed over each serving.