To make the tomato sauce:
Put a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion, peppers, celery, and carrot
, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Add the water, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 5 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated. This will bring out the natural sugars of the vegetables.
Spray a large Dutch oven
with cooking spray
and put it over medium-low heat. Spoon the vegetables into the Dutch oven. To the skillet, add the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Add the ground beef and sausage, breaking it up with the wooden spoon, and cook until no pink remains. Do not let the meat mixture crisp
or burn. Empty it into the Dutch oven and pour over the crushed tomatoes
, quartered tomatoes, tomato paste
, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper
, brown sugar, bay leaves, parsley, thyme
, and vinegar. Cover and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally with the wooden spoon so that the sauce does not catch. Remove the cover and simmer
for an additional 1/2 hour or until the sauce is thickened. The sauce will continue to thicken when taken off the heat. Remove the bay leaves and carefully transfer the sauce into containers. Allow the sauce to cool and refrigerate or freeze until needed. This recipe yields about 10 cups sauce.