RECIPE: Crock Pot Celebration Weekend with RED GOLD TOMATOES! / Slow Cooker Sunday Meaty Pasta Sauce
Ironically, something funny happened last night around the art of slow cooking. My young Jr. Art Director at work told us that her boyfriend announced he was serving a pot roast for dinner in a crock pot. He told her at 5:30 p.m. Guess when he put in the meat in the crock pot? 5:30 p.m.
I warned her to eat some snacks, because it was going to be at least 11 p.m for dinner to be ready-if he cooked it on high.
So, don't make that mistake! Rule #1 about slow cooking, it has SLOW in the name. You need time to have the magic happen.
The art of slow cooking in a crock pot is the savior of many busy families. It's fix it in the morning and forget about it until you get home! What's also nice about it is that you can use cheaper, tougher cuts of meat saving you money. Tough meats get fork tender in a slow cooker. Usually recipes made in a crock pot are the epitome of comfort food. This sauce I am going to share with you is the perfect Sunday comfort dinner. It was adapted from The Best Slow and Easy Recipes from Cook's Illustrated-a perfect edition to your cookbook library.
I grew up having "Sunday gravy". Mom would have it simmering right before we left for church. When we got back, the house smelled delicious. We could sneak some ladles of it on some crusty Italian bread for lunch-after we took off our Sunday dresses. Then dinner was always early, as all typical Italian families, usually around 2:30. Mom would have the sauce spooned over pasta, and serve the meat in a bowl separately. It was always followed by nuts or fruit. This crock pot version reminds me of our family's Sunday sauce recipe, but different. For instance the meat mix is a little different, and you shred the meat once it's tender and put it back in at the end. You also add the basil at the end, to brighten the hearty, earthy sauce. I used Red Gold tomatoes in this recipe, they are a great quality canned tomato. They sent me some cans to play with in celebration of crock pot season this month. I like using some of their flavored diced tomatoes. Their garlic and olive oil diced tomatoes played nicely in this sauce.
Also, you'll notice I am using turkey Italian sausage. This was a big switch. I wasn't sure how poultry would mix with the beef and pork. But I really hate sausage, and I thought switching to turkey would also cut down on the fat. So I gambled, and I have to say it turned out perfect! Now don't tell my mom, she would be horrified I used turkey in a Sunday gravy-let alone mixed proteins that drastically. If you want to stick to regular Italian sausage, be my guest. Just try and skim the fat off as the sauce cooks.
So, Sunday is tomorrow, my friends. And well, it's chilly where I am! Snow flurries were spotted in the city, so I say get to the store for that flank steak and some Red Gold tomatoes and plan for a traditional Italian feast tomorrow! Abondanza!
Slow Cooker Sunday Meaty Pasta Sauce
Are you inspired to do more with your slow cooker this week? Here are a couple more recipes from me to you!