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Friday, November 9, 2018
Foodie Fridays ~ Chynna's Family Favorite Pasta Sauce
First, as you can see by the fact that I am still posting, last week's adventure with the pressure cooker went surprisingly well. I made a little roast with potatoes, carrots and onions and it was better than I thought. The best part? There was no pot explosion or anyone having to serve themselves from the ceiling. So, I'll be using that again in the near future.
For today's post, one of my kids suggested that I share my recipe for my pasta sauce. I'm one of those sauce Nazis who doesn't believe in the jarred or canned stuff you see on grocery store shelves. Sure some of them are great in a tight pinch but, honestly? The flavor difference is huge. I guess I've spoiled my kids because they totally know the difference from the 'mommy's in a hurry tonight...eat it or starve' mode or 'mommy's feeling creative, let's fill up that sauce container' frame of mind.
There is almost always a huge glass tupperware container full of sauce in the fridge as we put that stuff on everything from pasta to paninis to vegetarian meals to rice dishes and everything in between. There's usually a small picket line going on in the kitchen on days where there is no sauce, or I've caved to the lure of jarred sauce easiness. So, as per their request, I am going to share my sauce recipe here today.
Two things about my sauce make it a bit more special. First, I don't put meat in my sauce. If there are leftovers for my mini carnivores to add onto their own plates, I leave that up to them. I just like the idea of a plain sauce that you can work into anything and every thing. The second thing is that I've done this so much, I have no set measurements for the ingredients. I pretty much eyeball it all, then adjust to taste (my middle kid, who has the same palate I do, is my taste-tester). I'll give you all of my main ingredients below and you can choose to tweak to your own tastes.
~ Heat up a big stock pot or a deep skillet. When you can feel heat emitting from the bottom when you hold your palm over it, pour in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. In my eyeball world, that's about two rounds around the bottom.
~ When the oil is heated up, put in anywhere from two to six cloves of minced garlic cloves, depending on how Italian you'd like your sauce to be, and heat them up until you can smell garlic in the air. Garlic cooks very fast so you have to watch it closely. I'd say about a minute or so. You want them softened, not brown.
~ Take the pot off the heat then pour in one 796 ml can of crushed tomatoes and one 369 ml can of tomato paste, mixing until blended. (You can use crushed or whole tomatoes, if you prefer. I just like the smoothness of crushed.)
~ Now the fun part. The basic herbs I use for this recipe are oregano (and lots of it), basil, and parsley. Fresh is always best, but make sure to chop them up as small as possible. Dried are easiest and you can go as crazy or as safe as you have a taste for. Then I usually sprinkle in onion powder, about a tablespoon or so of sugar (highlights the sweetness of the tomato), plenty of salt and pepper and, my 'secret ingredient'>>>>>a big splash of Balsamic vinegar. After that, I thrown in about 1/3 cup or so of grated Parmesan then cover to simmer for awhile until all ingredients meld together.
~ Although 20 minutes will do, the longer you leave it the better it tastes. Check on it at that point to see if there's anything herb or spice wise that you'd like a hint more flavor from then go ahead and use it with whatever dish you're planning!
This lasts a good week in the fridge, with the right kind of container to keep in freshness. Although, I wouldn't know as it usually doesn't last as long as I hope it would around here.
Hey! Maybe next week I'll share one of my surprise recipes I do with polenta and this sauce. In my house, a 'surprise recipe' is one where I use a main ingredient I don't tell everyone else I'm using and we are all surprised that it tastes better than it sounds. I throw one of those in the mix every so often because if I don't, they'd be happy to just have hotdogs and/or KD every night.