Thursday, February 27, 2014

Red Sauce--for spaghetti, pizza, and *anything*

spaghetti sauce

When one of my brothers was tiny my mom was trying to explain to him about Thanksgiving. She said, "It's a special day where we are thankful and we get to eat our favorite things."
I hear that my brother looked at her and said, excitedly, "You mean we get to eat spaghetti?"
Sorry, there is no spaghetti in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but we get to eat red sauce year round, which is even better.

I've been attempting a few different recipes for a red sauce for spaghetti, pizza, and anything else.  Yes, I like to use the same sauce on my spaghetti as my pizza. My first attempt wasn't quite right, but I was still chowing down on it and loving it. In fact, when I decided I'd had too many carbs, I started eating it by the spoonful.

For spaghetti, you may dress this up by browning some ground turkey or ground beef to add. I love it on homemade pizza.

homemade red sauce, homemade crust
Here's my homemade pizza crust recipe

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Jarred and canned red sauce often has corn syrup added to it, perhaps quite a bit, depending on the brand. My recipe does add a tiny bit of sugar, but everything else is a vegetable, so I'm quite comfortable saying this recipe is healthy.

1/2 of a medium onion (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (or use 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
1 twenty-eight ounce can of tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon basil 
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional. I used 1/4 teaspoon for a nice kick.)

Don an apron! Bubbling red sauce is one of the messiest things I cook. Worth it.

1) Pulse onion in a blender to roughly chop. Don't clean the blender yet. Cook onion in a fry pan over medium heat in the olive oil for 4 minutes.

The onion, before pulsing it, filled up a 1 cup measure.
Since you're going to be using a blender anyway later, you might as well use it to chop your onions.
I don't worry if the onions are all different sizes--we'll puree them later. This step is just to cook it in some oil to take out the bite of eating raw onions
2) Add minced garlic to the onions and cook 4 minutes more.

3) Meanwhile, puree half the can of tomatoes, Italian seasoning, basil, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and place in a small or medium saucepan over medium heat.
4) Place the other half of the tomatoes in the blender with the cooked onions. Puree. Add to the saucepan with the other tomatoes.

You can see the lighter colored sauce is the half with the onions pureed in them.

5) When it begins boiling, turn it down to a simmer. 
This is when it gets messy. Sometimes when I check on it simmering, I hold the lid like a shield.
don't splatter on me
Don't splatter on me!

I like to cover and simmer for an hour. You can get away with only simmering it 10-15 minutes, but it's better if you give it time. In fact, I think it's best the second day after it has sat in the fridge overnight! 
When simmering check and stir it every 7-10 minutes. Make sure it's not boiling with huge bubbles or burning on the bottom. The simmering bubbles should be present but no bigger than 1/2-3/4 of an inch. 

The bubbles had gotten too big at this point and sauce was splattered way up on the lid.
I just turned it down a bit and very carefully stirred it. 

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