I’m a pasta junkie, and I have been ever since I can remember. Growing up, spaghetti and meatballs was my FAVORITE dish. Except when I was a wee little tot, I called it “psgetti” and it was one of my first words! I guess that was sign number one I was meant to be a foodie, right? Even at my ripe age of 25, spaghetti is still one of my favorite foods. There is something so comforting about this traditional dish. However, the key to an incredible spaghetti recipe is the sauce. I’ve had one too many pasta dishes ruined by a weak sauce. But have no fear friends, this sauce I’m about to share with you IS THE BOSS. For reals.
Sorry about the iPhone photo, my poor camera needed some serious charging time after HLS! Regardless, this sauce is SO good. I used a recipe I found by Giada as my base, then spruced it up with red pepper flakes, a dash of chili powder, some chopped mushrooms and fresh chives. I love traditional homemade marinara, but the added spice really took this sauce to the next flavor. My taste buds were dancing, literally dancing, with the succulent flavors and zesty spice. Instead of meatballs (I was starving and didn’t have the time/patience), I decided to throw in some 98% fat free turkey sausage for added protein. I kept with the tradition and served over al-dente spaghetti noodles.
Each bite had the perfect blend of spice plus the hearty texture with the chunks of satueed mushrooms and sweet turkey sausage made for an incredibly filling meal!
NOTE: If you are a meatball person, try this recipe for great turkey meatballs! You can swap the sausage for any variety you’d like. Plus, you can serve this sauce with anything! In lasagna, on pizza or over any kind of noodle!
Spicy, Chunky Homemade Marinara over Spaghetti
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: About an hour and 15 minutes
Yield: 2 quarts of sauce and 5 one cup servings of spaghetti
What You’ll Need:
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 cup of mushrooms, stemed and chopped
- 48 ounces of crushed tomatoes
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes (more or less depending on desired flavor)
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder (again, more or less depending on desired flavor)
- 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning (or a mix of oregano and basil)
- 7 ounces turkey sausage (OPTIONAL)*
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 4 fresh chives, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make It:
- In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions, cook for a few minutes, then add garlic. Cook until lightly browned. Add mushrooms and carrots and cook until veggies are brown and carmelized.
- Take pan off heat. In a larger pot, add vegetables and tomatoes and set on medium heat. Add in spices, bay leaves and salt and pepper and heat for about an hour.
- While sauce is heating, cook turkey sausage by boiling it for 5-7 minutes. When done, chop into bite size pieces.
Once sausage is chopped, set aside. In another pot, heat 6 – 8 cups of water to a boil, add spaghetti and cook until just soft. Set aside. Taste test sauce (once it’s perfectly seasoned to your palette), take off heat and add in sausage. Serve over noodles with a dash of parmesean cheese and chopped chive.
Nutritional information per 1 cup of sauce with 3/4 cup of pasta: 370 calories, 12 grams of fat, 45 grams of carbohydrates and 22 grams of protein.