FORGET RAGÚ, SPAGHETTI SAUCE FROM SCRATCH IS EASY
Every time I walk down the sauce aisle at my local grocery store, looking at the dozen or more choices of pasta sauces, I think to myself how hard is it to make sauce from scratch? Granted, for some it's not really an issue of having the know-how to make a good sauce from scratch. It's a matter of having the time to make a sauce. Life is busy and full of things to do. I get that. It makes perfect sense to me. I can certainly relate to being busy.
And of course, the myriad flavors do open up a wide variety of dinner options. Pick out a noodle, pick out a different jar of sauce, and voila! Dinner is served up just a little bit different than it was served up yesterday.
When my wife and I were still dating I remember asking her if she liked spaghetti. Of course she answered yes. Who doesn't like spaghetti? I can't think of a single person I've ever met in my entire life who professed to having an adversity to a steaming plate of fresh cooked noodles topped with that delicious meaty red sauce. A little sprinkle of parsley, a nice dosing of Parmesan cheese...I'm getting hungry already.
Of course, I do realize that after this is published surely someone will come out of the woodwork and proclaim spaghetti as an abhorrence.
With a proud smile I told her, "Well, I'll just have to make you some spaghetti one night."
She said, "That sounds great," and then there was a slight pause. "So, what brand do you like?"
Brand? Enter the old record scratch sound. That one struck my funny bone. "What do you mean brand?"
"You know, Ragu, Prego...which one do you like?"
I said to her, then, that I make my own sauce. It's not that those jarred sauces aren't good. In fact there are some that are. And there are practical uses for a few of them as well. I've been known to use a jar of the stuff myself here and there. But when it comes to just plain, regular, spaghetti, nothing does it for me like homemade. Here's my recipe. Try it out. Experiment with it. But most of all, simply enjoy it.
EASY HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI SAUCE
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can water
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
8 oz. package sliced fresh baby portabella mushrooms
3 tbsp. minced garlic (use less if you aren't as into garlic as I am)
2 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
pinch of kosher salt
20-25 frozen Italian meatballs
16 oz. spaghetti noodles
Heat oil in a stock pot, add onion and cook on medium to high heat until the onions are translucent. Add tomato sauce, fill empty can with equal amount of water and add to the sauce. Add diced tomatoes and can of tomato paste, stir until well mixed. Bring to a low boil, then add mushrooms, and garlic. Add oregano, Italian, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves, sugar, and salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti noodles according to package instructions. Add frozen Italian meatballs to sauce and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve sauce over hot noodles with a little bit of Parmesan cheese and dried parsley flakes.
Tip: Never rinse your noodles after cooking. Simply drain and serve. Rinsing the noodles removes some of the starch, which is necessary in helping to adhere the sauce to the noodles.
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