Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spaghetti Night - Hold The Sugar Please


In our house we enjoy Spaghetti night. I enjoy making a simple sauce from scratch each week. I know, it is readily available in any store... but, my sauce doesn't have added salt, sugar and is made from fresh ingredients. You really can't beat how it makes the house smell, either!

Yes, it does take a little time. But, not active time. It is a hurry up and wait kind of sauce. Start with ingredients of choice. Depending on what is in season, or hanging out in my crisper is what I use for my sauce. This week it was super simple. Just a little:

Butter and or olive oil (I use a combination)
1/2 to a whole onion
2-3 cloves of garlic (yeah, I love garlic!)
Can or Jar of whole tomatoes (we have our canned tomatoes)
1 jar of tomato sauce (home canned)
1 jar of tomato paste (I hope to can some this year)
4-6 mushrooms
Basil (dry or fresh if you have it)
Oregano (dry or fresh if you have it)

...any other veggies your want! I really enjoy throwing in a green bell pepper or sauteed eggplant on occasion. Go for whatever makes you happy and your kids will eat. My son eats more veggies in the sauce than out.
I use a Tbsp of butter and a good splash of olive oil. Yeah, real exact aren't I? Then add in your chopped onions (as fine as you want... or chunky works, too), chopped mushrooms and any other veggies. I do this to sweat the onions and get everything tender. For the last minute or so I add crushed garlic. You can also just finely grate it into your pan.


Next in a large saucepan or pot add your tomatoes. I like to gently crush the whole tomatoes as I put them in the pan. I do it by hand... just go slowly or you will end up wearing it. Feel free to chop these on a cutting board if you don't want to smoosh the living daylights out of them. Stir in your sauce & paste. Then add the sauteed veggies and basil & oregano to taste. I think I put a 1/2 Tbsp of oregano... and a good heaping Tbsp of basil. In the summer I use fresh whenever possible. With fresh remember to add more.

I like to simmer this with the lid on for 1-3 hours. The longer the better. It really helps the flavors to meld nicely. I don't add any extra water or stock because I try to keep it vegetarian for my kiddos (low pro for their PKU). This yields a pretty thick sauce, but we love it that way.

I know there are more complicated sauces out there... but, we rarely drink wine and don't really keep it on hand, and I really love the taste of good ripe tomatoes. If you use the best, it will taste spectacular. I do not recommend using fresh tomatoes out of season. They really are poor excuses for the flavor found in their seasonal cousins. Cheers!
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