Welcome, Let's make healthy cooking simple and easy!

Welcome, Let's make healthy cooking simple and easy together!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Red Sauce

Remember when spaghetti use to taste like this? 

Well I can bring that back with a few easy steps and it can be a lot healthier than "jar" sauce!

I use to make spaghetti from a jar as well, and loved it. But then I met my husband and his family they makes "red sauce", as they call it, from scratch. I haven't turned back since. (well occasionally but don't tell anyone) I love this recipe and so do my kids and guess what it sneaks in lots and lots of veggies and that is the biggest plus in my book.  I make mine from my homegrown tomatoes that I can in the summer BUT as most people probably don't do this, canned organic whole tomatoes from the store are fine or even fresh tomatoes if you feel like spending all day letting this simmer away.  Also I sometimes but hamburger or even ground turkey in my spaghetti but most of the time not now. I find the vegetables are plenty of flavor and nutrients all on their own. But I understand if you must have meat in your meal.

Anyways let's start with the ingredients.
3-4 of the big cans of whole tomatoes or 3-5 lbs of fresh tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
 dry basil, oregano to taste
5 cloves of garlic --minced
1 1/2 onions minced
3 large carrots minced
4 stalks of celery minced
1 red bell pepper minced
2 medium zucchini minced
1 lb of button mushrooms minced
2tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
one good squeeze of ketchup
1 lb spaghetti ( I like the white enriched or wheat)
parmesan cheese

1. First put all your tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil in a big pot and set them to simmer for 2-6 hours depending on if you got fresh or not. This may sound like a long time, but think about, you put your tomatoes on, mince up all your veggies and cook them, do all your dishes from that day, sweep the kitchen, check out your blog, and wahla  your tomatoes have cooked at least two hours.

2. Next take out all your veggies and if you have pre-prepped its easy you just throw them in the food processor or since you have some time, now might be a good time to do your pre-prep for the week. This is when I normally do it. Nevertheless, mince up all your veggies in your food processor until small enough that the children can't find them.

3. Put your veggies  in a skillet with our olive oil and a pinch of salt, to help it cook evenly, and always remember to preheat your pan. Then let everything soften, and finally, add it to your tomatoes.

4. Let it simmer away for awhile, then get your handy dandy immersion blender out. ( Oh you don't have one, I REALLY recommend one it makes soups and all kinds things so much easier. Here's my favorite: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CSB-77-Blender-Chopper-Attachments/dp/B0006G3JRO but if you don't have one of these and you have some sort of food processor just throw your sauce in there), then you churn it up (I love power tools in the kitchen! ) until there is little to no chunks. I have to go until there is nothing of anything to be seen, so my boys will eat it.

5. Then throw it back in the pot add, your salt, pepper and ketchup and boil until pasta is ready. 
Looks kinda like this but without the meatballs and sausage.  This was Christmas dinner at the Reale's. You gotta love being married to an Italian.

6. Start up your water to boil for the pasta

(To salt or not to salt the water. I've heard so much about this but let me tell you the truth. It does NOT make your water boil faster where this came from I'm not sure but I think are reaching for a faster way. It DOES add some flavor to dry pasta but very little. It DOES add lots of flavor to fresh pasta which is where I use it. In my opinion it adds so little flavor to dry pasta that I've stopped adding the extra sodium to my diet. BUT that is my opinion. It does NOT make your pasta not stick, remember you are adding it to boiling water so the salt immediately dissolves meaning there is no friction between the pasta. )

(How much water to use? This is such a common question that I had to address it. Technically your suppose to use one gallon of water per pound of pasta. Do I do this? I try to as much as possible, especially with fresh and/or spaghetti and fettuccinni pastas. But when I'm using a penne, rigatoni, swirls, shells I tend to use less water. Don't ask me why, I guess they just seem to stick less to me. But you are still supposed to use a gallon of water per pound.)

7. Add your pasta cook it for about 7-8 minutes or until it still has a bite al dente. Then drain, and immediately add some parmesan cheese, (why parmesan cheese, it sticks the pasta and adds grit so the pasta doesn't stick together as easily plus it adds flavor mmmm)
8. Then add as much sauce as you like and serve. I like mine with some yummy garlic bread.

If you put the sauce in air tight containers, you can freeze it up to 3 months. It's a quick easy go to for me and there is lots of cool things you can do with this "red" sauce.  In fact my next recipe is spaghetti chicken pie mmmm...

What kinds of things do you like to do with "red" or spaghetti sauce? I'd love to hear your ideas. 

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