Have you ever looked at the labels on commercial Spaghetti Sauce? Next time you’re out shopping, pick up a can or jar of it and read the label. Notice the presence of sugar in there, whether it’s in the form of sugar or high fructose corn syrup or something else that means sugar. I don’t know about you, but I try not to buy anything with HFCS in it and quite frankly, why do you need so much sugar in something that is basically just tomatoes and herbs?
I started making my own spaghetti sauce years ago and we like it much better than any of the commercial brands out there. I also use it as a base for lasagna, so when I make sauce, I make a lot. I figure if I’m going to be spending time in the kitchen, I am going to make it count for something. If you have your own home canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste, I applaud you, I don’t so I go to the store and buy tomatoes in several different forms.
As you can see from the picture, I open cans, and then add it to the browned meat, and after that, correct for seasonings. And I only use the No Salt added tomato products. We don’t need the salt and certainly don’t miss it either in this recipe. Check out how much sodium is in those other cans of tomatoes.
I’m waiting. Surprised?
Now add that to the sugar in prepared sauce, yuck, right?
Begin by chopping up a large onion, I like a fairly fine dice. Throw it in the pan with some olive oil and cook it till it just starts to change color, then add a couple or three crushed and chopped cloves of garlic. Put in as much garlic as you like here. Cook for just a minute or so, and then remove from heat, and reserve in a separate dish. If using fresh mushrooms, throw them in the pan and just let them cook just for a minute before you add your meat to the pan, brown it and cook until it is no longer pink. Break it up a little with your spatula and then add the onions and garlic to the meat, let it cook for a few minutes more, then add the Italian herbs to the meat mixture.
|Sorry, blurry picture, but you get the drift.|
I just found a great product called Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs blend. Check the link out here, http://www.gourmetgarden.com/us/ It comes in a tube and you can find it in the refrigerated section of the veggie section in your grocery store. It is a little pricey, but well worth it for the fresh taste. Or you can add some dried Italian seasoning to the meat as you’re browning it, this seems to help open up the flavour of the dried herbs. While the meat is browning open up those cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. If using canned mushrooms, go ahead and add them with the tomatoes. Dump the tomatoes into a large pot, mix it up with your spoon until the tomato paste is incorporated and when the meat is ready, add it to the pot. Taste it here to help correct the seasoning, and if necessary add more herbs. You can also add a rich full bodied red wine at this point, just a cup or two. Add a few tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese and then simmer for about an hour over low heat, stirring from time to time. Cook up your favourite pasta, whether it be spaghetti, linguine, or angel hair and serve the sauce over the pasta or however you like to serve it. And it makes a lot.
I freeze the remainder and pull it out when we’re in the mood for Spaghetti or Lasagna.
HINT: If using plastic dishes to freeze in, line them with some plastic wrap, this keeps the sauce from staining, plus when it’s frozen, throw that block into a plastic bag, and save the plastic container for something else. Or just spoon the sauce into a ziploc bag, squeeze out the excess air and freeze flat.
If I’m making Lasagna, I add an additional can of diced tomatoes and then layer it with cheeses and noodles.
This is also a very company friendly dish. You can stretch it with a couple cans more of tomatoes, a tad more seasoning, cook up lots of spaghetti and serve with a green salad and a loaf or two of garlic bread.
Here’s the recipe;
1lb. lean ground beef (feel free to use Ground Turkey instead)
1 lb. Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 lg. onion, diced
2-5 cloves garlic, minced (to your taste)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or 2 small cans mushrooms
3 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
2-3 6 oz. cans tomato sauce, or 1 lg. can, no salt added kind
3 cans regular tomato paste
1 can tomato paste with Italian herbs added
1/4 tsp. (or more) red pepper flakes to taste.
3-4 tbsp. Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs, or 1-2 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning.
1-2 tbsp. Amore Double Concentrated Tomato Paste
2-4 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
Olive oil for browning.
You can also add a couple of cups of a good red wine to the sauce, my DH doesn’t care for the taste, but it does add a richness that can’t be beat.