I am one happy guy, tonight – I have 14 quarts of homemade pasta sauce canned, labelled, and sitting on the shelf just waiting to be eaten!

A year or so ago we got a pressure canner to start making more things at home. Victor has made sauce a couple of times, but we’ve been out for weeks, now… I’ve been going through withdrawal. Having homemade sauce on the shelf is one of the most fabulous luxuries in life. Really. It’s always delicious, dinner can be on the table in minutes, and we know when it was made and what went into it.

What a concept, eh?!?

He started out with a case of Cento San Marzano tomatoes, a few pounds of pork, garlic, onions, basil, cheese…


All into the pot to simmer, slowly, for a few hours…

As soon as it reached its peak perfection, it went into jars…


I picked up a different jar this time around. I still have a slew of mason jars downstairs, but thought it time for something different.

They went right into the canner…


I really do like this so much better than doing the water bath – especially for quarts.  It also takes about half the time, start-to-finish.


The jars sit on the counter and continue to boil inside for a good 20 minutes before finally starting to cool down. It’s cool to watch.

But it’s even more fun to eat!


14 quarts and at least 2 other meals from one pot.

It’s been a successful day in the kitchen!

Victor’s Pasta Sauce

  • 2 – 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – Sm can tomato paste
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (or to taste if you like more) chopped fine
  • Olive oil
  • Dried Italian seasonings
  • Hot red pepper flakes (a tsp or more or less to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Red wine (always cook with a decent wine, never “cooking” wine) about a cup or cup and a half
  • Meat – such as Italian sausage or some nice beef or pork ribs or pork chops

Ok…I ALWAYS make my sauce with meat, so start with a deep, heavy pot and add about 3-4 TBS of olive oil. On high heat, once the oil is hot, start frying the sausage or pork, Let the meat get good and caramelized although you don’t have to cook it all the way through because you’ll add it back to the sauce to finish. Once the meat is browned take it out of the pot, put it on a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and sauté the tomato paste for a couple of minutes until it begins to “melt”. Add the chopped garlic and sauté with the tomato paste for just a minute (no longer or it will burn). Then add about a cup of the red wine and deglaze the pan with it, scrapping up all the good bits that stuck to the bottom when cooking the meat.

When the wine reduces by about ½ start adding the canned tomatoes.  Add one can of hot water for every can of tomatoes you use.

Now start adding the dried Italian seasonings.  I eyeball it but I would guess a good 2 TBS is fine.  Add about another ½ cup of red wine, with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir everything into the sauce. It will be very thin at this point.

Add back the cooked meat. Now this is important….at the bottom of the plate you let the meat rest on will be some of the oil and juices that seeped out. Pour that back into the pot. It has a lot of flavor in it.

Bring the sauce back to a boil then turn the heat down low and let it simmer for at least 1 and a half hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes to keep it from burning. It should reduce by about a third or a little less and get thicker. The meat will absorb the sauce and get very tender.

When I make meatballs, I don’t fry them, I bake them on a sheet pan. When I do, I add them to the simmering sauce when they’re done so they also absorb the flavor.

I usually make the sauce early in the day and after it’s done, just let it sit on the stove until dinner then I re-heat it. This should make enough sauce for a couple of dinners or good sized lasagna.