This post pains me for a number of reasons: First, my Italian ancestry is probably going to be revoked. Second, I can picture my Mom rolling her eyes with doubt. Third, WHY DIDN’T I TRY THIS SOONER. Yes, I’m yelling that. Loudly. From the roof top. (With a glass of wine in hand.)
At some point in the not to distant past, I pinned/read/googled something about making tomato sauce in a slow cooker. During the pantry challenge, I removed our last portion of homemade sauce from the freezer and I knew I needed to restock — soon. Work has been busy, life has been busy, and although it has been -30 degrees, I was not in the mood to stand over the stove for a few hours making my own. Plus, the cleaning. I am STILL trying to get cooked on sauce off my dutch oven from the Fall. At this point, I’ve resigned myself to calling it flavor. I couldn’t handle the effort of homemade sauce this week. So, I broke out the slow cooker.
My slow cooker is a Ninja (literally, that’s the brand name, not a nickname). It was a gift from my parents during my bridal shower. It replaced my previous slow cooker which was very, very, very well loved. By the time I retired it, both handles were broken off, the side was dented and the cord was starting to fray. I put a ton of thought into what model I wanted to replace it. After window shopping in store, doing my own research, and reading this post, I landed on the Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System. It browns, it buffets, it bakes, it slow cooks. It does everything. How does this related to making Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce? Well, when you decide you want to make a meat sauce, which I did. It’s ONE pot. ONE. If you don’t have the Ninja, it’s two pots. Boo.
If you are using a Ninja, preheat on Stovetop High while you prep your ingredients. (My one complaint… it takes a while to preheat — covering it with the lid helps). Chop a large onion, and mince a few cloves of garlic. Once the Ninja is hot, toss them in. I’m not using oil. It’s ok, I promise. Let them cook a few minutes and then toss in ground beef and hot Italian sausage removed from the casing. Break everything up and let it cook for a good 15 minutes. Drain out most of the grease.
If you are not Ninja-ing this dish, cook everything on the actual stovetop and use a little oil.
Switch your Ninja over to “Slow Cooker Low.” Or, turn your regular slow cooker on Low and throw in your meat mixture. Add a big can of tomato paste. Stir. That’s the last of the “cooking” you are going to do.
Add in a few good glugs of red wine (now-four-buck-chuck is perfect for this).
Add in big can of whole, peeled tomatoes.
Add in a big can of pureed tomatoes.
Add in a good sprinkle of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Add in a whole bunch of Italian seasoning.
Cover the pot. Set your timer for 10 (yes TEN) hours.
Occasionally come over and give it a stir.
Feel a little sad that you will probably never cook tomato sauce on your stovetop ever again.
I mean, come on that’s sexy! Oh, and as for clean up: a rinse in the sink, and a gentle pass with a soapy sponge will do it. I don’t know what Ninja coats its pot with but I want to coat my house in that.