The secret to getting the all-day flavour is using sausage meat instead of ground beef. The spices already in the meat will really give the sauce a great flavour. By the same token, it's best to use an italian sausage that you really like, as it's going to have a disproportionate effect on the final outcome. Get the best you can lay your hands on, preferably from a good butcher.
Pasta wise, anything works well: spagetti, penne, rigatoni, whatever. However, I really prefer using fresh pasta as it can really add something to the flavour.
Quick pasta sauce.
Makes 8 main course servings, with leftovers.
1 lb of italian sausage (usually 4 sausages), removed from the casings
2 onions, chopped
4-6 cloves minced garlic
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
2 28 oz cans of tomatoes (1 whole, 1 crushed)
1 small can tomato paste
1 tsp italian spice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, brown the sausages on both sides in some olive oil, about 3 minutes per side until just cooked all the way through. Don't break them up, brown them whole. Reserve. If there's any excess fat or oil in the pot, you can pour it off. Leave enough to saute the veggies.
2. Start sauteing the onions in the pot, add the garlic after a minute or two. After another minute or two, add the rest of the veggies to the pot and sauted the whole bunch for another 5 or 8 minutes until the carrots start to soften a bit. During the process, add about 1/2 the italian spice and red pepper flakes.
3. While the veggies are cooking, chop up the browned sausages into small pieces.
4. Add the meat and tomatoes into the pot as well as the rest of the spices. Let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
5. Serve on some nice pasta with salad or chopped veggies and crusty bread.
This recipe is always well received, and it makes enough for at least two meals. As with most pasta sauces, it freezes very well. There are also lots of opportunities for customization and improvization. For example, I often make it with red or green pepper instead of zucchini.