Dinner,  Pasta,  Soups & Stews

Sunday Red Sauce!

Sunday Funday! In the winter time Sunday’s are our relaxation day. We don’t plan to much unless someone asks us to do something. It’s the day of the week that we like to sleep in, have a nice brunch, a late day happy hour and I nice dinner with a good glass of wine.

This Sunday was pasta day. I love pasta but rarely eat it because of the carbs and since Kate (my lovely wife) has a gluten allergy it has been hard to find a good rice pasta substitute that doesn’t fall apart when cooking it and have a good authentic pasta texture and flavor. We finally found a penne pasta (Kroger-private select brown rice and quinoa pasta) that does the trick so this weeks Sunday dinner was my Italian chicken that is your classic Chicken parmesan that I served with classic pasta primavera.

One of the other reasons for not eating a lot of pasta is your classic pasta red sauce. I abhor jarred sauces! To me they all have a weird background taste that never sits well with me and to pay $10 for one jar of really good sauce is like wow, I’ll make a batch of my own that will give me two or three quarts worth for the same price and I then freeze the rest so I have it for the future. I will freeze it in pint size containers so I always have just enough for a nice dish when we want it.

This post is just the sauce and I decided to post it separately so you can use this nice red sauce for any dish you may want. If you have a big enough pot you can double this recipe to have plenty for a long time.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 4 – 15oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1- 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 Cup White wine (like a chardonnay) not pictured
  • 2 – Cups water
  • 1/3 Cup diced red onion
  • 2 – Cloves fresh garlic chopped
  • 3 – TBS Italian Seasoning (dry)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (add more for a spicy) or omit for no spice
  • 3 TBS good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBS cane sugar (not pictured)
  • 1 TBS dry oregano
  • 2 TBS fresh basil chopped
  • 2 TBS kosher salt and more for seasoning in between steps
  • 1 TBS of fresh cracked black pepper

Mise en Place: everything in its place!

First this as always get your prep done before you start  cooking. This is always the first important step. Chop your onion and garlic and have the rest laid out like pictured above.

In a large 6 qt stainless steel pot (don’t use aluminum or cast iron unless it is enamel coated) heat to med low heat. Add 2 TBS of Olive oil and add the diced red onion and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the onion while stirring occasionally for about 3-4 minutes.

Add the garlic and saute another 2 minutes until the garlic has bloomed well (it will start to smell wonderful in your house).

Next add the Italian herbs and cook another minute

Turn up the heat to med/high and add the tomato paste and cook another minute or two.

Next deglaze the pan with the white wine and stir with a wooden spoon while scraping the bottom of the pan to get any browned bits off the bottom. Remember, this is good flavor.

You mixture will look smooth and thick. Next add the tomatoes, water, balsamic vinegar and sugar and salt and pepper and oregano. Stir well turn the heat down to a simmer. Let simmer for a couple hours and reduce the contents of the sauce by about a 1/2 inch. This will concentrate the flavors.

If I had all day and was summer time I would use fresh tomatoes from the garden and cook for 8 to 10 hours and omit the sugar but since tomatoes are out of season and you can only get green house I use canned.

Once reduced by a 1/2 inch using an emersion blender or hand wand mixer like Cuisinart ($29 at a Meijer) blend the mixture until mostly smooth. I like to leave small chunks of tomatoes or if I over blend I will add a few large spoonful’s after blending.

Add the fresh chopped basil and stir in with a spoon.

Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed to your taste. This is your finished product and ready for any pasta or dish you like. It’s great for spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna etc.


Next I will post the Pasta Primavera pictured below


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