Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Spaghetti Sauce

On New Year's Eve, I made a giganto pot of spaghetti sauce for dinner. It's easy, can feed lots of people and easy, did I mention easy? The only skill needed, really, is to dice an onion and there are many ways to do that...and to taste things to find the right flavors that you want!

I don't have a recipe that I follow, per se....so here's what I did and this fed lots of people!!

2 large onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 TB Olive Oil, plus some more for later
1 regular sized can of tomato paste
about a cup of wine (I had chardonnay this time, normally I'd use a dry red)
1 large (28 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 large (28 oz) can of tomato puree
1 large (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
2 TB sugar
Lots of herbs: Basil, Oregano, Marjoram, Savory (all dried)
Hefty "Pinch" of red pepper flakes
Fresh Basil

In a large pot, sweat the onions in the olive oil for about 1o minutes, you want them to become translucent. Add a pinch or two of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Add the garlic and saute for about a minute.

Add the herbs. I usually start with a heaping TB each of the dried herbs and the Red pepper flakes. Stir and allow to simmer for a minute.

Add the tomato paste and start to work into the onions.

Add the wine and stir to incorporate and allow to reduce by half.

Add the tomato puree, diced and sauce. Stir to incorporate fully.

Bring sauce to a simmer, taste for desired herbage. Add more of whatever is necessary. Usually a little more salt and pepper for sure.

I like to let my sauce simmer for at least an hour if possible...uncovered, so it will make a giant mess. About ten minutes before you're ready to serve, add a swirl or two of olive oil and a handful of sliced basil. Stir to incorporate, remove form heat.

Serve on your favorite pasta (Spaghetti Rigati from Barilla) and garnish with fresh parm and some big fat bread for sopping up extra sauce. If you want some veg, have a salad on the side.

Next up...I make Tiramisu....someday soon...I have a recipe I MUST TRY!



Lady Brandenburg said...

It was fabulous - and I am trying to figure out the trick. I think some of it was the final swirl of oil and the basil at the end. And the sugar. And maybe the fact that ScottE is not shy with the herbs.

I mean, let's face it, I've made spaghetti sauce using pretty much all the same things here, but it doesn't taste like when ScottE makes it. Will I ever be a real cook!? (Practice practice!!)

Brunette said...

Sounds yummers- I'll definitely give this a try.

And a belated happy new year to you! I've been grossly delinquent in my blogginess lately...

ScottE. said...

Part of the tastiness comes from the constant sampling as you go. I start tasting for the correct spices and herbs as soon as I combine in the tomatoe sauce...and just taste until I think it's right. Like I'd said that night, it seemed off until the final swirl of olive oil.

The other thing, and it's a hard one to deal with, especially if we're on a budget, but if your herbs and spices are older than 6 months, they are not really the freshest thing and you might want to throw them out and start fresh.

Imagine if you will: Autumn. Like most herbs (dried leaves), the autumn foilage falls and the air has a very distinct scent to it from the leaves. But after a few weeks, it starts to get stale and moldy smelling. Herbage looses it's vibrancy pretty quickly once it's been opened. Most of what I used in this particular pot of sauce were herbs that I've had for three months or less.

Brunette said...

Very good point about the importance of fresh herbs and spices. I dream of the day when I can have a window herb garden, but for now the roomie's cats make that impossible.

Forgot to mention that if you like tiramisu, I have a tiramisu fondue recipe that is to die for! If you like I can email it to ya...

ScottE. said...

I'll be the first to admit that I have herbs and spices that are way too old to be using legitimatly. But the ones I use more regularly are usually good and fresh.

What I dream of, is a large cabinet where I can have little tins of all my herbs and spices with a space for a re-writable label, where I can post the date of purchase...so I know what's "good" and what's not. I'd also make it a point to try to buy in quantities more in line with what I use.

I'd love a tiramisu fondue recipe. Drooool!

I recieved the most recent Fine Cooking magazine yesterday and it has a delectable recipe in it...made me start to cry a little.

Anonymous said...

I have been craving spaghetti! I am going to make your recipe this week! Yumm...

Demetrius said...

Any possibility on posting the recipe for Brunette's tiramisu fondue recipe? I would love to make this! Thanks.

Dancer in DC said...

I have to say that growing up I was never a big spaghetti person. Probably because it was meant to be an easy meal that required next to no preparation. And I always used jar sauces. (Yes, I know.)

But when ScottE cooks, spaghetti night is actually something to look forward to. The best part is the tomatoes - using 3 types gives it layers of texture, which is much more satisfying.

And I love me some onions when they're cooking...

Jon said...

Next time you make sauce, try adding grated parmigiano. Like the herbage, it really adds another layer of depth to the sauce. I have no set amount, just everytime you taste, throw some more cheese in. Just make sure it's good cheese, not that stuff in a green bottle. I've got one more container full of sauce in my freezer, so the time is coming up again...

DC Food Blog said...

Thanks for posting this recipe. I do a sauce like this and I never measure. I just taste and add until it works. Now I have a starting (and hopefully ending) point. I agree Scott, it's all about the tasting as you go. That's why I never find baking enjoyable. You have to measure precisely and hope for the best.

Em said...

My husband and I were left with the leftovers of this New Year's Eve pasta sauce, and let me assure you that it's even better on day two when all the flavors have mingled for 24 hours. I did find that the pepper became a tad too peppery for my taste, but other than that it was perfect!