By Steve Leahy
2 pounds of italian sausage (or textured vegetable protein if you are serving academics or 2 pounds hamburger if you are serving your guy friends) You can go light on the meat or vegetarian substitute if you wish.
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes or just tomatoes
2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
1 6 oz can of tomato sauce
(Get good brands if you are trying to impress)
1 reasonably large green pepper (get a good one.)
2 medium white onions (or any type if you are not out to impress. You can go light on this as well.)
¼ cup red wine (does not have to be good)
1 packet of sugar (snag a packet from a restaurant, and that way you do not have to buy a bunch of sugar that you are never going to use. It is not like you are going to cook pastries or cakes. Anyone who has a complaint with previous statement, please see the title of the dish.)
1 package of how ever many fresh mushrooms that you wish to include. (Since you are obviously trying to impress someone, work really hard to make sure the mushrooms are clean. If you do not care to do this, just get a can of mushrooms and say to yourself, I am not interested in another date with my guest.)
1 can of minced clams—undrained. (That’s right, you heard me.)
2 cloves of fresh garlic. (Throw out whatever you have in the refrigerator and get something new. It does not cost much, and it makes a world of difference. For goodness sakes, if you were that cheap on garlic, you would be cooking every day.)
Oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, and fennel.
(This is the part that s**** about being a bachelor cook. This requires a capital investment on items that you may not use again. In other words, your spices will need to be replaced within the next year.)
Brown sausage and place on paper towels. Pat down with more paper towels.
Open cans of tomatoes and paste and empty in crock pot. Cut up garlic, green pepper, and onions. Empty into crock pot. Add sausage to crock pot. Empty can of clams over mixture. Pour wine over mixture. Empty packet of sugar over mixture. Open and empty can of tomato sauce over mixture. Add spices except bay leaf.
Mix well. (Be patient and spend some time doing this. Tape the gosh darn football game if you have to, but take the time. The last thing that you want is one part of the sauce tasting like it does not have garlic and then the other part scaring even Sonny Bono.)
Turn crock pot on low and cover and cook for 6 or 8 or 12 hours. Add bay leaf. Discard before serving.
Serve with pasta (anything out of ordinary works best. If they wanted regular spaghetti, they would have opened a can!) and fresh bread or garlic bread (one recipe per e.a.t.s. thank you!)
Get a nice bottle of wine. (Always go to a place that has a wine steward. [Substitute name of wine sponsor here] does a nice job.)
Remember to focus on presentation. Get a nice tablecloth (they do not cost that much) and make sure your plates, glasses, and silverware are clean. Fold the napkins. Remember that a few minutes spent on making the dinner look good can cover up a day of incompetence in the kitchen.
Finally, show some class at the end of the night. When your guest(s) offer to help you clean up, angrily kick their butts away from the kitchen sink.
Stephen M. Leahy