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Monday, August 16, 2010

All I need is some good red sauce & crusty bread…

In my former life I was Italian  and I spent my childhood days in the kitchen where my sweet Nonna taught my how to make all her special dishes.  Well since I don’t really believe in re-incarnation, I bring myself back to reality…where I did spend my childhood days with my German Grandma.  Who taught me how to make her special dishes like: spaetzle, fleisch k├╝chen (meat cakes), potato salad, and German red cabbage.  As a child I loved being in the kitchen helping out my Mom or anyone else that would let me stand by their side to learn.  That resulted in a love for cooking.  I enjoy making a big meal for others and watching them chow it down, and then leave me to clean it all up (o.k. I don’t really like that part).
Over the years I have  developed a certain fondness for Italian food.  Especially red sauce (or as the Italian’s would say “gravy”) with fresh baked crusty bread.  I could make an entire meal out of those two things, but my waste line wouldn’t be so forgiving!
I’ve tried many recipes for sauce, some good, some not so good.   I’ve taken what I’ve learned and come up with  my own recipe that I want to share:
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T onion, minced (optional…still tastes great without it)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 ½ tsp. sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
3 T olive oil
1 tsp each: fresh chopped oregano & basil
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan on medium-high heat, add garlic and onion; cook until fragrant, about 1 -2 minutes.  Add the red pepper flakes and the tomatoes.  Season with salt & pepper, breaking the tomatoes up as you go.  Bring to a boil, add the sugar and reduce the heat to a rapid simmer.  Cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the fresh herbs.
The longer you cook, the thicker the sauce will be. I use my Braun hand held blender to puree it!

Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or do like I do and freeze it.  I use this sauce on my homemade grilled pizza dough (yum!), for zucchini parmesan and of course dipping crusty bread.  Do your kids like sauce but not veggies?  Try this trick: chop up a cup of carrots and celery, put them in the oil and saute them until transparent (or mushy) then add the garlic and onions and finish off the recipe.  Your kids will get a whole serving of veggies and not even know it!

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