How to Make a Rich and Tasteful Pasta Sauce, Sorry Mom!
Hmm...there is nothing better to soothe the soul than the rich smells of your favorite foods. And somehow no matter how bad I was feeling as I dragged my into the house after a horrible day at school the aromas of tomatoes and spices bubbling in the pot quickly soothed my troubles away. So what I had a research paper due, or a huge test, or worst yet a snub from some cute guy, no worries, because I was about to dig into a bowl of my mom's homemade spagetti.
In my house Ragu was a four letter word. Prego, even worse. I imagined my long gone grandparents giving the "Italian Salute" every time a commercial came on claiming homemade flavors in a can.
My mother taught both my sister and myself how to make her sauce. Her recipes slowly changed over time as we grew older and sadly we could never replicate her original sauce. But I also learned the secret to tradition...your own personality pokes through ever so slightly as you add and test new ideas. I am sure my mother's recipe was never truly like my grandmothers and so on. There was never a recipe in writing, which would have been nice. I actually hand write all my favorites so my kids can have them.
So although I have loved all the foods my mom cooked for us, well except for those awful salmon patties that even made my dad's face flinch, I have come to my own sumptuous tomato sauce that I would love to share with you.
1 Carrot, finely chopped
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
Lots of Garlic, roughly chopped or smashed
1 TBSP Dried Oregano (try not to add too much more I think this herb gives an ashy taste in larger quantities)
2 TBSP Dried Basil (If you are like me and like fresh better add it toward the end, like before you serve)
2 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Cayenne Pepper
2 Large Cans crushed Tomatoes
2 Large Cans cans of Tomato Sauce
1 Small Can of Tomato Paste
1. With a dose of Olive Oil sauté together Carrots and Onions until softened. Add Garlic and sauté for just another minute.
2. Add all your cans of Tomato (crushed, Sauce and Paste). Stir until paste is dissolved.
3. Add in all your other ingredients and another good dose of Olive Oil then,
DON"T TASTE IT FOR 30 MINUTES! Yes, put that spoon down.
WHy?? You will not taste any of the herbs or spice and therefore you think you need more and may ruin it before its given a chance. Wait and be patient for 30 mins. then taste and add if you need.
Now as you can see my family likes a sweeter sauce but I like the kick of the pepper. You can also add water to thin it, my mother always added a can of water for every can she used. Again I wait a while before doing this.
Well I gave up two secrets the Brown Sugar and the Cayenne Pepper, but I was holding out, there is one more ingredient I like to add...a dollup of Ricotta Cheese. The creaminess it gives to the sauce is just fantastic. And like some great traditions it came be accident.
Years ago my mother gave me this beautiful set of grape leaf painted shallow large bowls. So I have included these into our family tradition by always using these whenever spagetti is served at our house.
As my mother always says before a great meal, ENJOY!!
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