Welcome Smackers! I am thrilled to present and host Share a Spoon, Warm the Heart with you! There really isn't any better way for you to show someone you care about them then sharing a meal. It's personal, it's intimate.
First I am going to share my two must have tools in the kitchen. I could not live without a food processor. Seriously. It saves so much time intensive labor. Everyone needs to get one if they don't have one already! It will make your experience in the kitchen a breeze. The second must have is a good set of knives. SHARP knives.
We had rigatoni last night so I am going to share my red sauce with you. This is a family favorite. I use this sauce as the base for most of my Italian dishes. You can freeze this. I don't ever buy jarred or canned spaghetti sauce. Ever. I control the salt, the preservatives, everything.
What you will need:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 medium onions chopped
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves of garlic grated
2 cans of tomato paste
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
Italian flat leaf parsley
1-2 teaspoons Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Quick note about the tomato paste and the crushed tomatoes. When shopping for these items pay attention to the labels. I usually pay a little more for both to make sure the only thing in the can is TOMATO. It's usually 15-20 cents more a can. But I pay the premium to not have citric acid, "natural flavors", high fructose corn syrup, etc. What the hell is natural flavors anyway? That's just me though.
In a large sauce pan over medium/high heat coat the entire bottom of the pan with olive oil. It's a lot of olive oil. Probably 1/2 cup, give or take. Add the two medium chopped onions(roughly 1 1/2 cups). Sweat the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the salt(to taste it's about a tablespoon for me) and 2 teaspoons of oregano. Stir well. Add the grated carrots. (I grate my carrots in the food processor, if you don't have a food processor grate them on the small side of the cheese grater.) Let this cook, and stir often until the carrots have softened completely. About 5-7 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the red pepper(optional) and grate the garlic into the pan. Stir well. Add the two small cans of tomato paste. Fill those cans with water and add to the mixture. Add the two large cans of crushed tomatoes. Stir well and reduce the heat. Let cook for 15 minutes. Add the chopped flat leaf parsley and basil. I add a full bunch of flat leaf parsley and basil. Turn the pot off and let the sauce rest. Do not keep the pot on anything higher than warm, the basil will turn black if you do.
Last night I made the above a meat sauce by adding a package of fresh turkey Italian sausage. There were 5 links in the package about 1.3 pounds. I added the sausage before the tomato paste and tomatoes and just cooked it until browned. Then completed the red sauce as described above. We used half of the sauce last night for a family of seven. I froze the other half in a rubber maid container.
The last picture of the sauce in the pot I took didn't turn out. But here is what the finished plate looks like. I served the sauce over rigatoni. You can use any pasta you want. I wouldn't suggest angel hair as this is a hearty red sauce.
I served a side salad. My boys eat all those carrots, tomatoes, onions and fresh spices and they have no idea that is all in there. AND it's good for them. I also use whole grain pasta. I clip coupons for the pasta and always buy it Buy One Get One Free. (That makes the pasta literally pennies per serving!)
You can keep this sauce in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw it out in a sauce pan. Just add a bit of olive oil to the bottom of the pan and defrost over medium heat.
Please email me any questions! I am here to help!
Thanks for sharing a meal with me Smackers! Now it's your turn. Link with me next week won't you!