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Spicy Sausage Marinara (low carb Pasta)

i’ll bet most home cooks have their own version of an Italian Marinara Sauce in their back pocket.
OR…know someone with the best red sauce recipe…OR you have your in-laws’ Italian Grandma’s hand written “gravy” recipe framed on the kitchen wall..well, i do know someone, but i usually just wait for her to have a big family dinner and hope for leftovers.  i just never turned out a good sauce for myself.  i must admit i’ve had a few batches of “just okay” or what i call “so-so sauces”, but this one was tasty and good enough to share and post so i wouldn’t forget.  i think it had a lot to do with the San Marzano Tomatoes, good spicy sausage and definitely the extra long cooking.  i’m not claiming any authentic Italian marinara here…just some good red meat sauce.  
it’s pretty simple and comes together fairly quickly, but it really should cook for a few hours.  
so…i’ve finally learned the basics…set the day aside, buy the right ingredients, channel the Italian Grandma Gravy Gods…AND have my best friend Kim, whose a solid New York Italian known for her sauce, on speed dial…i think i called her 5 times.  maybe 6…
everyone’s tastes are different so you might want to add a dash of something here and a smidgen of whatever there.  the key is to cook, stir, taste…cook some more and taste some more and so on.  i like my sauce thick and a little chunky with a bit of a kick.  too thick?…add stock or add some pasta water.  too chunky?…get out the immersion blender…to spicy?…add the pepper flakes toward the end or let the diners control the heat.  works well with any shape pasta, poured over steamed vegetables or this new “almost” spinach fettuccine i recently came across.
 let’s talk a minute about this pasta…
it’s NOT PASTA by any means,
BUT it is only 5 calories per serving!
believe it or not…this whole bowl with meat sauce has about 200 calories.
visually Pasta Slim does the trick.  we eat with our eyes and this truly looks like the real thing.
taste?…really has no flavor at all, but it does take on what ever you serve it with.
texture?… they are a little slippery right out of the bag and must be washed and dried as much as possible…and…some of the strands can be a bit long…like 4 feet long!… so they might need cutting.
other than that, they are a great diet, WHEAT FREE, carb conscious pasta substitute.
they definitely serve as a great vehicle for “sauce to mouth”
on with the recipe…
SPICY SAUSAGE MARINARA
makes about 6 – 7 cups.  use what you need then freeze the rest
1 med. yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced small
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
3 spicy Italian pork sausage
1 sweet Italian turkey sausage
(sausage equaling about 1 1/4 lbs.)
1 28oz can San Marzano peeled plum tomatoes
(cut up as they go in the pot.  don’t lose juices)
1 15oz can San Marzano diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can San Marzano tomato sauce
2 big Tbsp San Marzano tomato paste
1 big tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 – 2 tsp dried red chili flakes (more or less)
5-7 fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
3 big Tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano
2-3 cups water
in a large stock pot…
start with olive oil and onions (med. heat), then add garlic.  remove casing from sausage and add meat to the pot. lightly brown the meat until it’s cooked through.  separate the sausage lumps while cooking…it should resemble hamburger meat. 
add all tomato ingredients (with all juices), dried herbs, chili flakes and 2 cups water.
bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  stir occasionally.
after about an hour…add parmigiano and fresh basil.  if it looks to thick add a little more water.
simmer for 1 more hour. 
 taste for seasoning.
it should be ready to serve at this point…BUT…it will get better and better if you cook it for at least another hour.
NOTE…my best friend Kim (New York-Italian) cooks hers alllll day long, but she makes a HUGE pot with pork chops instead of sausage…so it cooks until the meat is just falling apart.  it’s enough to feed an army of hungry Italians.  i had her on the hot line as i was cooking and she said leave it on…let it cook.

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