Saturday, February 13, 2010

Homemade Pasta Sauce

I have a confession.  I buy pasta sauce in a jar.  Regularly.

Then I get a quiet Saturday around the house and remember how easy making pasta sauce can be. Then I taste the sauce I've simmered gently for an hour. Then I feel so sad at how much I've been missing out on. Then I eat more sauce and fall into an Italian stupor.

Seriously, though, this is a really easy sauce to make. It uses things you probably already have in the house and has a bright, tangy tomato flavor. Pair with some homemade meatballs (look for that recipe tomorrow) and your favorite pasta, and you too can enter your own stupor.

This makes a large recipe; I usually use half and freeze the other half for a quick dinner on a busy night.

Here's what you need to gather:

Crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, onion, green pepper, wine, and brown sugar

Give your bell pepper a nice dice.

Then take your onion and dice it up a well.  Remember as you look at the pictures later that you really should take a course on photo lighting. 

Pour a tablespoon or two of your olive oil into a dutch oven and saute your onions and peppers until they soften a bit.

While your veggies are cooking, give your parsley leaves a snip...

And your basil.  I mentioned chiffonade cutting a while back, and I feel like I should be all technical and actually show you the "right" way.  Then I'll probably go back to cutting my slacker way, but I'll feel better about sharing that little tidbit with you. 

First stack your basil leaves in a nice neat stack.

Then roll them up tightly...

And cut them off in tiny little slivers.

You'll have a nice, neat little pile of cut basil just yearning to be put into a pasta sauce.

By now your onions and peppers should be soft, so you can add both cans of tomatoes.  You could use a different kind of tomato (stewed, petite diced, etc.) but I like the combination of crushed and diced.  They give the sauce a nice texture.

Stir it all up, then add your tomato paste, basil, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and brown sugar.

Can I just say how much I like cooking with wine?  I'm not a huge wine drinker, but I love the flavor that wine adds to a lot of foods.  You can use beef broth as a substitute in this recipe if you want, but try it with the wine sometime.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, go ahead and add your wine in.  (Take a sip or three...if you must.)

Now bring the sauce to a boil; then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for a while.  Try to at least let it simmer for a half an hour minimum; I've been known to let mine simmer for an hour or two when I've been able to.  The flavors get all melded and yummy.

And that's it.  Give it the occasional stir and let it bubble away.   Enjoy!!

Homemade Pasta Sauce

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1-2 Tablespoons fresh basil
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1-2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Saute green pepper and onion in olive oil.  Add diced and crushed tomatoes; stir.  Add tomato paste, parsley, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, basil, and wine.  Mix well.  Add wine.

Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer.


1 comment:

Alison @ Hospitality Haven said...

I TOTALLY agree that homemade pasta sauce is SO much more flavourful. I made a big batch back in the fall on a whim and it's still in my freezer...I really hope to use it this week! :)