Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Homemade Pasta Sauce

I've tried for so long to find a pasta sauce recipe I love.  I've tried ALL KINDS with no luck - they were either too garlic-y or too tomato-y, were too sweet, too chunky, too watery, etc etc etc.  Buying jar sauce is easy, but when your family loves sauce as much as mine, it can get pricy to buy the good stuff ... not to mention all the sugar and preservatives added - even corn syrup in some!

So ... I came up with this giant recipe and haven't looked back.  The flavour is deep and rich, yet it seems to have just the right balance of seasoning and tomato.  It's great on pizza and pasta both ... and since it makes so much, I freeze it in freezer bags (flat so they'll stack) of various sizes so I can pull out the quantity I need for the dish I'm making.  Serve with pasta or pizza crust (we love gluten-free corn and rice pastas from Trader Joe's ... and Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Crust Mix) and a yummy garden salad ... and the meal is complete!  If you'd like to try your hand at homemade pasta, Morgan and I tried out Mario Batali's recipe and it was amazing!

olive oil
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp crushed red pepper (reduce to 1 if you don't want any zip)
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp pepper
4 small onions or 2 large onions, white or yellow
8 garlic cloves, crushed
2 small cans tomato paste
2 all-vegetable bouillon cubes*
1/3 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (106 oz) Costco-size can tomato sauce
1 (106 oz) Costco-size can crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add spices, onion and garlic.  Sauté for 30 seconds to allow the onions to sweat and the spices to start releasing their flavour.  Add tomato paste and continue sautéing and stirring for another 30 seconds or so.  Stir in bouillion cubes, sugar, and vinegar.  Very carefully add in both cans of tomatoes (they always wants to splatter), stirring to incorporate.

Add in bay leaves and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for at least an hour, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn't burn.

Remove bay leaves and let come to room temperature.  Pack into labelled freezer bags of different sizes.  To defrost, I usually put the bag in a sink filled with a little warm water.

MEAT OPTION:  You could make this a meat sauce as well ... just brown the meat in the bottom of the stock pot (ground beef, sausage), drain, then add in the seasonings and onion, etc.

*I love this brand of boullion ... and it's gluten-free! :)

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