My sister had to learn how to prepare homemade spaghetti sauce when she got married, this recipe is adapted from her late mother-in-law’s recipe that she brought with her from the old country. The original recipe made about 2 gallons of sauce (Mama had 10 kids) but over the years my sister cut it down to a reasonable amount.
- Tomato Sauce
Drop tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute then into ice water. Peel tomatoes and cut up fine. Cook tomatoes in a large saucepan with 1 tablespoon of salt, stirring often until reduced by half. Strain mixture to remove seeds and return to saucepan or crockpot to cook on low heat until thick and smooth. May freeze up to 1 year in a well-sealed container.
- Tomato Paste
Use the above procedure but continue cooking on low heat stirring frequently so the sauce does not scorch, until it reaches the paste consistency. Then freeze in well-sealed containers for up to 1 year.
In a large sauce pot:
Using the above Tomato Sauce, mix 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a glass of water and stir into tomato sauce. Stir until foam disappears, this reduces the acid in the sauce. (Sugar will do the same thing, but be careful not to use too much or the sauce will be sweet.)
When the foam is gone add to taste: salt, pepper, grated cheese, basil, 1 large or 2 small bay leaves, a handful of parsley.
Sauté chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil. Cook but do not brown. Add to sauce.
Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.
- Contrary to popular opinion oregano is associated more with pizza sauce than spaghetti sauce.
Let simmer till reduced and sauce thickens, stirring frequently.
- If desired crushed red pepper may be added after sauce cooks a while, do not add with the other spices or sauce will get too hot.
To make a meat sauce add cooked and drained ground beef and if desired ground Italian sausage.
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