Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pasta Sauce to Die For

I've had a lot of requests for the recipe I use to make pasta sauce. And, succumbing to the pressure, have finally taken pictures of a batch in process. The result? This blog.

Keep in mind that writing this particular post actually took more time than cooking the sauce.

I start out with a few base requirements. Progresso Tomatoes with Added Puree. Tomato Paste. A little bit of Olive Oil. And Wine. Please note that I do not have any particular brand alligence other than Progresso and I admit that even that is a result of watching Mom cook sauce for many years. Others may or may not taste just as good. I wouldn't know.

Then, since I like a sauce chunky with vegetables, I perused my refrigerator for likely contributions. Onion, Green Bell Peppers, Zuchini and Carrots (for sweetness), Eggplant (my favorite), Mushrooms, Broccoli & Cauliflower.
Note the time I started this project. 3:30 PM this afternoon.
Please forgive the sideways picture... I'm just too lazy to correct it. I pulled out a very deep skillet and used about 1 TB of Lemon Infused Olive Oil to a pan already sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. I used Trader Joe's Olive Oil spray in this case, but PAM works just as well.
Onions and green peppers were sliced down and put into the skillet to sautee.
I added spices to taste. For today's concoction, I used Garlic, Italian Spices, Red Pepper, Rosemary, and Black Pepper.
I added wine to the mixture. I used red today, but have also used white and had just as good a result.
While the first vegetables were cooking down,
I chopped up the balance in my food processor. This project would not move along as quickly or smoothly without it. Please note, though, that I have a cheap one from Target. You do not need to spend a gazillion dollars on a Cuisinart to have a perfectly usable machine that will last for years and years and years. I recently bought this one - and Oster - for $60 at Target after my Black & Decker (also Target) died after 12 years of service.
The newest vegetables added to the pan, I covered it to speed up the cooking time.
Checked them on occasion while using the down time to clean up the kitchen.
A task smoothly completed because all the vegetables were contained within the food processor and their peelings were put into a bowl.

I have to tell you that I used to put them down the garbage disposal but learned the hard way that it just doesn't hold up under that kind of abuse. I then used to drop the peelings onto the kitchen counter to be cleaned up later, but after seeing "Bridges of Madison County," had a 'doh!' moment and used a bowl from that moment on.

Now don't get me wrong. I hated Bridges for the same reason that I hated Brokeback Mountain. Because they portrayed the main characters as sacrificing themselves for societal norms. But to my mind, I would have found them all more noble if they had not been decietful and by actions and lies of omission, hurt others around them. I understand what it is to be ostracized by society. That does not give me permission to use others in order to believe that I am normal. Off of my soapbox now. Let's get back to pasta sauce.

Once the vegetables have cooked down, it is time to add the final ingredients. Tomatoes with added puree, tomato paste (to thicken it up... you may not want to use this ingredient if you like a more watery sauce), sweetener - I like Raw sugar but you can use even Splenda. Caution! Use sweetener sparingly if carrots are one of the vegetables. They add plenty of sweetness on their own. I also like to add the juice of one lemon for acidity to balance the sweetner.

The easiest way to handle Tomato Paste is to use the can opener on both sides of the can, then push the paste on through.
Now, just heat the newest ingredients and you have achieved sauce! Note the time on the stove. 4:02 PM. 1/2 hour for a boatload of sauce!


hot tamale said...

ummmmm I've put a pot of water on to boil....when can you get here with the sauce?
love you

Mrs. G. said...



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