Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You don't make it from scratch?

So, I've got a friend who used to make fun of me for not making my own spaghetti sauce. He was always surprised and asked me each time I saw him, "You don't make it from scratch?" I think he asked me over and over again because of his age not because he was trying to be annoying.

When we were married, I started buying Delmonte Traditional spaghetti sauce and grew to like it! It was all I ever used and could think of nothing else to try. That is until we started giving up high fructose corn syrup. I think Delmonte's brand only has corn syrup, but still trying to avoid syrups altogether. I even looked into buying the dry mix that you get in the seasoning aisle and just add tomato sauce to it. I'm pretty sure though they still contained high fructose corn syrup solids and a whole bunch of other chemicals we don't want.

This friend of mine, used to tell me, I make mine from scratch. Only I found out that he was talking about buying the spaghetti mix and adding the tomato sauce to it. I don't consider making it that way from scratch, myself!

So, this got me wondering how hard is it to make my own spaghetti sauce. I searched online and found tons of recipes! And decided to be brave and try this one:

I just can't remember which link I found it on.

1 can crushed tomatoes
4 Tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups water
1- 6 ounce can tomato paste
3 leaves fresh basil
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Saute onions until golden brown. Add rest of ingredients and boil. Lower heat and simmer until desired thickness. Skim off oil. It will rise to top when sauce is done.

Now, I like my sauce a bit sweet, but instead of adding sugar to it, I found I can just add a pinch of baking soda. It starts to bubble up as it reacts to the acid in the tomatoes. I taste it and keep adding it until it tastes like I want it to. The baking soda addition makes it taste sweet without having to add any sugar. Don't ask me how this works, I don't know.

The first time I made this I was in a hurry. You can't be in a hurry when you make this sauce. It turned out good but it was very watery. The other day when I made this, I was in a hurry (I know, I know), but still wanted it thick, so I kept it at a higher heat and stirred constantly. Which made the sauce sputter and spray me occasionally (ouch!), but overall it turned out great!

It makes a lot of sauce. I halved the recipe yesterday and Nick and I both had two plates (the second helpings were smaller than the first) and there was enough leftover for both of us to have leftovers for lunch today.

I also forgot to buy crushed tomatoes so I substituted a can of stewed tomatoes seasoned with bell peppers, celery and onions. I also substituted a pinch or two of basil leaves for the fresh basil. I was mad because I had some fresh basil that I got from my CSA basket and was excited to try it but it spoiled before I could use it.

So, that's the new recipe I use all the time now. I suppose if I could find another recipe to try, I might consider it, but happy with what I've got.


stephanie said...

I remember the 1st time I made my own tomato sauce. My cousin, who is an excellent cook, showed me how. We make it in a giant iron skillet.
Started with some olive oil, diced onion, and garlic. Then, we diced up a BUNCH of tomatoes (we used romas) and threw those in along with a little can of tomato paste. If it was too thick, we added more water, If it was too thin, we just cooked it longer. Anyway, we added salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and rosemary. We also added a little sugar. I can't tell you how much because it was really just a pinch of this and a dash of that. I've also made it using diced peppers and if I wanted it to have a little more "kick" I toss in a small chili pepper.
I haven't made it in a looong time because I have a stockpile of tomato sauce in the pantry, but I think that I'll have to give this a try.. that is, if my tomato plants ever produce! :)

Noel Wright said...

Well, I guess technically, this isn't made from scratch either since I used canned tomatoes but our tomato plants just did not make it this year! An I have no way to can my own!

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