IndieEats Red Sauce

With my Green Chile recipe already posted, I knew it was time to post the other go-to for one of my weekly meals. Red Sauce. Everyone that isn’t a complete social reject loves spaghetti with red sauce. Whether your family passed its recipe down for generations, or you pour yours out of a jar, this is one of America’s favorite foods.

I’m Italian and grew up in a somewhat stereotypical Italian family. We eat traditional Italian fare more often that most, but we still love to do an American-Italian spaghetti dinner on Sunday nights. You know – where we drink too much wine, carb load, argue about sports, smoke cigars, and talk about our next mob hit. Just kidding.

When I started to learn how to cook, I knew one of my first recipes I wanted to create was a red sauce. Now this is more like a traditional red sauce, or gravy as they call it on the East Coast. It’s not a traditional marinara, and yes there is a difference. This is a variation of my mother’s recipe that I’ve worked on for years now. My wife and I will cook a batch, and freeze some to save for a quick dinner when we work late. Knowing that you’ll expect something more than just how to make sauce, I’ve included a special twist that will really impress your guests. Unless your guest is the  editor from Bon Appetit, in which case, you probably don’t need any of my recipes.

Below is my recipe for Spaghetti, with Spicy Sausage and a Parmesan Bowl. Yep, you just read that right. I’m going to teach you how to make a bowl out of just parmesan and a little flour. Normally I don’t photo-document how to do step-by-step, but I will in this case, because the bowl is a little tricky.

Red Sauce is another rather time consuming dish, so don’t plan on starting this at 7:30pm. Your family or date will be asleep, or digging through the cupboards before you finish.

What you’ll need

  • Stockpot
  • Immersion Blender
  • Silpat (non stick cooking mat)
  • Soufle Dish, or small bowl

Red Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 14.5 oz cans of organic, diced, tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz cans of organic tomato sauce
  • 1/2 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 package Spicy Italian Sausage – links
  • 1 White Onion – diced
  • 6 Cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 tbsp Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp dried Parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried Basil
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1 tsp Soy sauce – weird right? It adds a nice rich earthy flavor to the sauce.
  • 1 tsp Sugar – My sister will cringe at this. I don’t like a sweet red sauce but I do like a little bit of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Red chile flakes to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil for garnish

Direction for Red Sauce

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO on medium-low heat until warm
  2. Add in diced onion, and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes
  3. Add in minced garlic, and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes
  4. Add in diced tomatoes, and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes,
  5. Add in tomato sauce and paste
  6. Bring the mixture up to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes
  7. Add in your dried basil, dried parsley, salt, pepper, sugar and soy sauce
  8. Break out your immersion blender, and puree the sauce until smooth. Be careful, the sauce is hot, and can spatter.
  9. Add in your spicy Italian sausage, but please hold you sophomoric humor to yourself.
  10. Add in your bay leaves. Make sure you do this after you puree, You don’t want to puree the bay leaves with the sauce.
  11. Cook on med-low for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
  12. 5 minutes before serving, add in the 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Yes, you are serving it in a bowl made entirely of Parmesan, but you still need to add some to the sauce. It adds a nice earthy, nutty flavor.

Parmesan Bowl Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan per “bowl”
  •  1/2 tsp flour

Directions for Parmesan Bowl

  1. Preheat over to 300 F
  2. Grate parmesan very finely, with a microplane preferably.
  3. Use ½ cup of cheese to create one bowl
  4. Spread the cheese evenly over the silpat. Sprinkle a light dusting of flour over all of the cheese. This will soak up the grease and help bind it together


  1. Set the timer for 15 min, and put it onto the center rack in your over
  2. While your cheese is in the oven, put a small bowl or soufflé dish on a plate.


  1. Cook the Parmesan for 15 minutes.
  2. With oven mits on, take the silpat out of the oven, and flip the cheese over the bowl, as seen below. If you’re having a hard time getting the cheese off of the mat and onto the upside down bowl, gently slide a knife in between the silpat and the cheese. Be very gentle.


  1. Let it cool for a couple of minutes, once it’s hardened, pull it off of the bowl and set it aside for later.


Once you’ve added the amount of sauce you like on your noodles, place a parmesan bowl on a plate. Spoon in one serving of spaghetti into the bowl, and top with fresh basil.