Monday, February 25, 2008

Sauce Love...An All Day Adventure.

Most of my days off are spent on all day cooking projects. I just love puttering in the kitchen and the smells of my favorite foods permeating the house. This post will be the first in which I share one of my own recipes. It was a revelation preparing it because I normally just dump things in; I had to take notes and measure! I offer Pasta Sauce...simmered all day.

The best things about this recipe are:
  1. It makes a ton. So, you can freeze the remainder in serving sized containers for future meals.
  2. It is totally adaptable to your tastes or dietary needs or wants.
  3. It's yummy! Yes, that's a technical term.
Here is a photo of the ingredients, as I made it:

  1. 2-26 ounce boxes of Pomi Strained Tomatoes. (You can use tomato sauce, but I found this at Kroger and I'm here to tell you, it's fabulous!)
  2. 2-28 ounce cans of Hunt's Crushed Tomatoes
  3. 2 Bay Leaves
  4. 2 ounces Pesto (I used this because my regular grocery didn't have fresh basil. This is a nice substitute for dry basil. When converting fresh herbs to dry, use 1 tsp of dry for 1 Tbs of fresh.)
  5. 2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano
  6. Black Pepper and Salt (I added about 2tsp of salt since the tomatoes are not salted.)
  7. 1/2 bottle of red wine (Remember, in cooking you want to use wine you would drink...I used a nice Bordeaux.)
  8. 2 red peppers*
  9. 2 yellow peppers*
  10. 2 red onions*
  11. 5 large cloves of garlic
  12. 1 Tbs olive oil
  13. 4 Links of Italian Sausage
  14. 2 Lbs Ground Round
Options for this sauce are:
  1. Making it meatless. I do this often. Just leave out the meat.
  2. Add mushrooms (I usually do, but I didn't have any) or any other lightly sauteed vegetables, i.e. squash or zucchini or eggplant.
  3. Making it Vegan friendly, obviously make it meatless (or add a meat substitute). Also, you would not use the Pesto as a basil substitute because it contains Pecorino Romano cheese.
  4. Making it Kosher friendly, obviously no pork sausage. If you use ground beef, leave out the pesto and the parmesan I add later.
[ *I used the red and yellow peppers and red onions because they provide a lovely sweetness to the sauce that I find lacking in green peppers and white onions. ]

The first step is to put the first six ingredients into a large stock pot:

Next, add the wine:

Dice the peppers and onions. For this recipe, I prefer a chunky dice, but try to make the pieces kind of uniform in size:

And then the garlic, I have a garlic press, the Susi by Zyliss, but I just chopped it. The garlic skins can easily be removed by taking the flat side of a butcher knife and giving the garlic a good whack! Also, you want to cut off the stem end of the garlic. Then, just chop away:

Add the olive oil to a hot skillet and add the peppers, onions and garlic. You want to saute them all slowly on low heat so they become translucent, but not browned:

Once they look like the picture above, just add them to the stock pot:

In the same skillet you sauteed the vegetables (no need to wash it), remove the casing (just cut a slit in the casing and peel it off) break up and brown the Italian Sausage:

I always drain the meat in a colander and rinse the fat off with hot running water. Then, add the browned sausage to the stock pot:

Next, again in the same skillet (no need to wash) brown the ground beef:

Again, drain in a colander and rinse with hot running water to remove excess fat and add to the stock pot:

And it looks like this:

Now, sit back and relax (remember, you have a half bottle of wine to drink *wink*). Enjoy the aroma as the sauce simmers slowly, uncovered, over low heat..all day. Stir it occasionally to prevent sticking. The sauce will reduce in volume and thicken naturally as the day goes on. Did I mention, it smells wonderful?

This sauce can be used on any variation of pasta. I used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Spaghetti.

I also topped the spaghetti with a completely wonderful parmigiano reggiano. It is a bit expensive, but there is nothing to compare to the taste of this lovely aged cheese. I used my micro plane to finely grate it.

Set the table, add a fresh salad (I dressed it with a balsamic vinaigrette), and you are ready to dig in:

After a long day relaxing, join me as I dine!



Anonymous said...

You are so right Paula, even I can do this. Eddie and I both love anything Itallian so this spaghetti recipe is a great start for me in my new kitchen.
I can't wait to try it! All the other recipe's look very delicious also. You are my hero!!!

Hope to see you soon. Keep on cooking.


Paula Dines said...


Thank you, grasshopper! Let me know how it goes!

Keep on casting and cooking!