[Basics] Red Sauce

May 28, 2011

Everyone should be able to make basic spaghetti sauce. Everyone. And there’s no excuse for it to not be fabulous, when it’s really easy to do. This is what I do; feel free to play with it, ’cause it takes just fine to adaptation.

Red Sauce

  • 2 32-oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6-oz cans tomato paste
  • olive oil
  • the largest onion you can get your hands on (use two if they’re small)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • red wine
  • 2-oz package dried mushrooms (I use porcini when I can get them, but any kind works), or you can chop up some fresh mushrooms instead
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fennel seed (whole, not ground), oregano, thyme, and parsley
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper
  • optional: sausages

Rehydrate the mushrooms in 2 c. hot water for about 15-20 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and chop the mushrooms.

Chop up the onion and saute in a large pot with olive oil. When the onions are tender, add the garlic. When it’s fragrant, add the mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, a generous splash of red wine, the mushroom soaking liquid, and all the spices (I should note that I never really measure these; I measured the last time I made this just especially for you folks). Stir well and bring to a simmer.

If you’re adding sausages, add them now. My family always cut them in half, so I do too. You could saute them ahead of time, but I never bother; they’re just as good this way.

Simmer the pasta sauce for at least two hours. Add water if it gets too thick. Stir occasionally. Enjoy immensely.

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