About a year or so ago I started making my own spaghetti sauce instead of buying it jarred. Jarred sauce seems so acidic to me, plus with all the additives and horror stories I've heard about broken bottles and the sauce eating its way through grocery store linoleum floors I'd become determined to find a recipe that the hubs and I liked.
This is that recipe - it's great to make in bulk or just enough for one meal. It will stay fresh for up to a week refrigerated in an airtight container but also freezes well. Also it is incredibly flexible - almost anything can be added or changed around as long as you stick to basic concept of cooking it slow for caramelizing and building on flavors. Perfect for using leftovers!
Spicy Spaghetti Sauce
- Canned tomato sauce
- 1 or more of the following: stewed tomatoes, original Rotel, fresh tomatoes, canned tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 4 Tb. finely minced onion
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Italian seasoning
- 1 Tb. sugar
- Lemon juice
- Veggies: mushrooms, zucchini, squash, eggplant
- Meat: Ground beef, sausage, pepperoni, ground turkey, shredded chicken
- Olive oil
- Meat: In a medium stock pot or large sauce pan - cook meat thoroughly. Drain excess grease if needed then set aside. If you are using left over meats or pre-cooked pepperoni; chop, shred or break up to desired 'chunks'.
- In a couple tablespoons olive oil, sweat garlic and onion until caramelized. The key to the sauce is slowly caramelizing all components to build flavors.(For some reason, I can not get the picture to upload any other way! It is turned correctly in my photo file, for the original pic, I tried downloading the picture again and starting over.... still... looks... like.... this.... sorry.) Add spices (I use dried): many many cracks of the black pepper mill, 1 Tb. basil, 1 Tb. parsley, couple pinches Italian Seasoning and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Let these hang out and get to know one another for a few minutes.
- Next - add your veggies. If using fresh zucchini, squash and/or eggplant, chop into small pieces and add first since they take longer to cook. Once they start softening, add mushrooms. Again, let these guys hang out and get nice and caramelized. Make sure you are stirring occasionally.
- Now add any and all of the tomatoes. If you are using any canned items, don't strain them. Stir well bringing up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add meats. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- You are finally ready for the tomato sauce! Add it in and stir it up. Once again, get those little bits off that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. How many cans I add depends on how I plan to use the sauce. If I want a really thick sauce I may add only a couple small cans tomato sauce. If I need a large batch for feeding a crowd or to freeze - a few larger cans tomato sauce.
- Add the sugar, 1-2 Tb lemon juice and a couple pats of margarine. Let simmer on low for 10 minutes then taste. Adjust depending on desired taste. If you feel it is too acidic add a smidgen more sugar or another pat of margarine.
- To freeze: Let sauce cool completely. Label freezer baggies - be sure to add the date! Be careful not to overfill baggie - fill only 1/3 to 1/2 full. Seal and lay flat; smooth out sauce in bag then place in freezer (flat). Once it has frozen flat it is much easier to move around in the freezer, stack in the door, etc. Do not stack bags until they are completely frozen - food safety factor here.
This night we were having ravioli. I topped the ravioli with spaghetti sauce, then a little Alfredo sauce... then some fresh spicy sausage we bought at Lovera's. (Lovera's is amazing - I will blog about it soon!) It was the same night we watched Twilight and had Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream!