Earlier in the week, I brought you one of my homemade meatball recipes. This is the sauce I make whenever I make spaghetti or lasagna or ravioli and it is the sauce I simmered the meatballs in. It’s not fully homemade because I don’t make my own tomato sauce or paste. I have never grown enough tomatoes to be able to afford the luxury of making all of my own sauce and certainly not enough to make my own paste. I have made sauce once, and until I can grow dozens of tomato plants in a summer, I won’t be doing it again. Not when even organic tomato sauce and paste is relatively inexpensive. I’d much rather just can the tomatoes I grow when I’m limited to eight fairly mediocre producing plants like I was this past summer. Other than that, though, it’s homemade.
2 pints of tomato sauce (or 14.5 oz cans from the store)
1 8 oz can tomato paste
1 pint of canned tomatoes or 1 pound of fresh roma tomatoes (or a 14.5 oz can from the store)
1 large yellow onion, diced (not a sweet onion)
6 garlic cloves, crushed (yes, you can cheat and use minced out of a jar. I recommend Christopher Ranch if you are going to)
Extra virgin olive oil (adds to the sauce flavor, so do not substitute)
Cover the bottom of a 4 quart pot with just enough oil to coat. Add diced onions and minced garlic and saute over medium high heat for 2 minutes.
Add your pint of tomatoes and stir together. After 1 minute add your tomato sauce and then your paste. Mix the paste well into the sauce. I have found that smooshing it down against the bottom of the pot with a large spoon helps break the paste apart and incorporate better into the sauce.
Turn the heat down to medium and keep an eye on it, stirring it when it bubbles up for about ten minutes.
Add a handful of dried basil, a handful of dried oregano, and a palmful of dried thyme. Add twenty grinds of pepper and then add salt to your taste preferences. It will depend on whether or not your tomato sauce has salt in it already or not. Stir.
Turn to as low as the heat goes. Cover. Simmer for ten minutes (with or without meatballs). Serve over hearty spaghetti noodles. This will overpower angel hair or other tiny stranded pasta.
This sauce recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of spaghetti, with enough left over for a homemade pizza and meatball sandwiches. It also freezes well.
In other news, today is my 45th birthday. It was a nice day, nothing spectacular, but the flowering cherry trees at the high school are blooming and spring is in the air. The dogwoods and forsythia, the crocus, tulips, and daffodils, are not far behind. My fingers yearn for the dirt. About two months to go until the last frost and it will be safe to plant outdoors.
In other, other news, I got 3 duck eggs today. It won’t be long now until I start getting 6 a day and we’ll be up to our eyeballs again.