Basic Meat-Tomato Sauce
1 to 2 lbs. Ground beef, pork, or Italian sausage
Celery, diced, leaves included
Garlic, pressed or diced -or- garlic salt/powder
1 small can tomato paste
Italian herb blend
-or- Fresh chopped herbs: Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme
Brown meat in a large pot, breaking into small pieces. If meat is very greasy, drain off fat with a metal colander and return meat to pot. Add onion and cook until tender. Mix in tomatoes, celery, and garlic.
Stir in tomato sauce and paste. You may want to add one can of water, or more for a thinner sauce. Add a few tablespoons of Olive oil if you like. Stir in herbs and pepper, cover, reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
The amount of tomato sauce to use depends on how thick you want your sauce, and the quantity desired. This sauce can be prepared in large batches ahead of time and frozen. Do not attempt to can anything containing meat without a pressure canner, but portions may be frozen in freezer-safe canning jars rather than plastic for better quality and flavor. Pasta should be prepared fresh and not canned with the sauce.
* * * This is the sauce I use for spaghetti and other pastas, or make it thicker for lasagna, stuffed shells, and manicotti. For fresh pasta, you may mix the boiled pasta into the sauce itself, or serve it on top. Use peppers in the recipe if you like them.