Traditional Meat Sauce

This is a very classic meat sauce for pasta, which I especially like and use mostly for lasagna. Don’t be tempted to shorten the cooking time – the long, slow simmer makes a difference. You can substitute ground turkey or almost any kind of sausage, removed from the casing. If you use spicy sausage, reduce the herbs and spices by half. I’ve always made big batches of this sauce, but until I discovered this huge 102-ounce can, resented the time I had to spend with the can opener. This is now a thing of the past.

Yield: about 14 to 16 cups.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 Spanish onions, chopped
6 to 8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
About 2½ pounds ground beef
1 102-ounce can diced tomatoes (12 cups)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine

1. Place a large pot over medium heat and when it is hot, add the oil. Add the onions, garlic herbs, and red pepper flakes, and cook until the onions are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Raise the heat to high and add the beef in about 4 additions, each time breaking it up with a spoon. Cook just until it loses its rawness and begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine, and bring just to a boil. Lower the heat to low and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the cover and cook for 1 additional hour.

3. Serve immediately; cool, cover, and refrigerate up to 5 days; or freeze in a resealable plastic bag for up to 3 months.

From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)