It was rainy and cold all weekend long which made me crave some comfort food. My husband suggested Italian for dinner so I made some pasta with homemade sauce. My house smelled amazing while the sauce simmered. The flavor of the sauce was terrific and I really loved the little sausage balls. This dish was a big hit with everyone especially my son who gobbled it up in no time. I combined this sauce with gemelli pasta and served it with some crusty bread and my House Salad for a tasty meal.
Form the chicken and basil sausage into small little balls.
Coat a small Dutch oven with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add the little sausage balls and let them get golden brown on all sides but not cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the Dutch oven and set aside; finish cooking the meatballs in batches. Add the olive oil to the Dutch oven when you remove the last of the sausage balls. Once hot, add the mushrooms and let them sit for 3-4 minutes before tossing. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, crushed fennel seeds, and minced garlic then cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar. Mix until well combined; add the sausage balls and their juices; gently combine. Taste & season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to simmer. Let the sauce simmer for 1 hour to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste & re-season if needed; add the chopped basil and combine. Cook the pasta in salted water per instructions. Drain. Ladle the pasta into a serving bowl then spoon sauce over the top followed by a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Enjoy.