Ever since I was a little toast crumb eater, Sunday dinner has been an important meal. It was the one time when the family tried to get together and have a favorite meal. At my parent's home it was always pasta with sauce. Ok, technically it was gravy, but I'm not going to quibble over that. My absolute favorite meal was rigatoni with ground beef in the tomato sauce. And I covered it with a veritable blizzard of Romano cheese.
Today, I'm not too different. Though I usually prefer the sauce a little different. My wife makes it with Griller Crumbles, lots of chunky onions and/or mushrooms, some hot pepper flakes and just a sprinkling of shredded Romano cheese.
And the rigatoni has been replaced by whole grain spaghetti. As I get older, I have made compromises. I sometimes miss the heavy meals, but I'm pretty happy with today's choices.
Here's my basic tomato sauce recipe:
bear in mind, I don't measure, so these are approx
1 small-medium onion (finely chopped)
2-3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
dried basil (about a tablespoon usually I just cover the sauce as it's in the pot, so I'm guessing on the amount)
dried oregano (about a tablespoon usually I just cover the sauce as it's in the pot, so I'm guessing on the amount)
pinch of salt (optional)
couple grinds of black pepper (optional)
small can of tomato paste
olive oil (about a tablespoon)
3 large cans of tomatoes (whatever is on sale, either crushed or whole--I prefer 2 cans crushed and 1 can pureed)
1 splash or so secret ingredient (revealed later)
Sweat the onions in the bottom of the pot (3 qt or so)
add the garlic and saute briefly.
then add the tomato paste and mix it in a little (sort of cook it?)
Then dump in the tomatoes. If using whole canned tomatoes they can be put in blender first, or just broken up by hand.
Simmer on low for about an hour.
Add the spices, stir in well.
Then add the secret ingredient.
This is either a splash of wine or some balsamic vinegar. Let simmer for about another 15 minutes or so.
If at becomes too thick, just add water. Too thin? Simmer longer.
This is a basic sauce. Add chicken, beef, sausage, or pork at the beginning for a slightly different taste. The meat will be delicious, too. And the acid in the tomatoes will make it really tender. Just be sure to simmer a little longer if meats are added. (closer to 2 hours total)