Something I like to make from scratch is pasta sauce especially this time of year when tomatoes are in season. It’s one of those things that you can put on the stove with a whole assortment of other ingredients and let it simmer for hours to create something amazing. Sure, you can very well go to the store and pick up a jar that’s been made for you, but have you looked at the ingredient list? For me, I like knowing what’s in my food as much as possible and I’ve always found homemade pasta sauce to be better tasting that anything processed anyway.
Here’s how I make my pasta sauce and it varies every time based on the hodge podge of ingredients I have to work with. Anything goes in my book and you can use what you like to make it yours!
original Joelen recipe
1 large onion, sliced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 lbs fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper
1 medium orange bell pepper
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium yellow bell pepper
1 10 oz container of mushrooms (I like cremini)
1 cup frozen spinach
1 head of fresh basil, torn into pieces
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 – 1 1/2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons dried italian seasoning (or rosemary, oregano, thyme)
enough water to cover
3 tablespoons sugar
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
1-2 cans tomato sauce OR 1 can tomato paste
* Keep in mind you can use whatever vegetables you’d like for this sauce
In a large dutch oven or stock pot over high heat, add the oil followed by the onions and garlic. Saute until onions are softened.
Add the remaining ingredients except the tomato sauce and tomato paste and let it come to a boil, covered. Continue cooking this on high covered for 30-45 minutes. This allows the tomatoes to break down without having the liquid evaporate much.
After 30-45 minutes, remove the cover and stir in the tomato sauce or tomato paste. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 1-2 hours uncovered. Stir occasionally and taste often. Season accordingly to your taste with salt, pepper or whatever you’d like.
At this point, you’ll notice your pasta sauce to be pretty chunky. Some folks like their sauce chunky and it’s great to serve as is over pasta. However if you prefer your pasta sauce to smoother, you can ladle it into a food processor and process to your desired consistency.
Allow your pasta sauce to cool. Once cooled, you can:
– ladle it into freezer bags and freeze flat. To use, defrost it and use as you’d like. It’s great to have this sauce on hand for times you’re need something quick
– ladle it into mason jars and can.
– use it however you’d like!