Boil a pot of water. Set aside a large bowl half filled with ice water. Add tomatoes to boiling water for about 1-2 minutes or until the skin starts to split. Remove tomatoes and set in ice water to help the skin separate. Remove skin and core then squash tomatoes by hand or with a hand blender.
Add squashed tomatoes and tomato paste to clean pot. Chop onions, garlic, and spices and add to pot leaving the bay leaves whole so they can be easily removed later (no one wants to chomp on bay leaves). Fry and break apart sausage and add to pot. Bring to light boil then simmer for several hours stirring often.
* A note about garlic and mushrooms. I know many folk don’t garlic and mushrooms. I hear you. Until recently I never really liked mushrooms. However, I recognize that even though I may not like certain ingredients on their own, they are required to make certain flavors as a whole. Mushrooms add an earthiness that just makes it. So… even if you don’t like mushrooms, no matter how good your sauce is, it’s just not as good as it COULD be without mushrooms. The same goes for garlic, although I will make concessions for using a smaller amount if you are not a fan. I will not however make allowances** for omission of either the mushrooms or garlic.
** The only reason I can think of that is acceptable is if someone is allergic. As is the unfortunate case of a friend of mine with mushrooms. Truly tragic.
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