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.