Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Pasta Sauce

Dear Folks,

I made up a batch of my sauce yesterday, and thought I would share it with you.  Near the bottom of this post I have a link to a Lasagna recipe I posted last year using the sauce.  I add and subtract herbs as I have the urge or what is fresh in the garden.

I froze some of our tomatoes last fall, a couple of pieces of Parmesan  cheese rind (the part that is too hard to grate makes a great flavor enhancer for sauces), and then added some fresh tomatoes from the garden, a sprig of oregano, some basil (both left whole), a whole white onion diced, and a whole stick of unsalted butter.  Yes, I know not low-fat, but this luscious recipe is a treat every once in a while.  It is my interpretation of Marcella Hazan's famous "Crazy Sauce" where she used butter, an onion cut in half and canned tomatoes, cooked down to an incredible amalgam of flavor and texture.  Marcella removed the onion and tossed it at the end of the cooking, but I thought that was a bit wasteful, so I went with dice and keeping it in for additional flavor.  I initially added herbs at the end, but now I like to leave sprigs in during the cooking, remove the hard stems at the end and sometimes sliver some fresh basil in right before serving.

I make up for the fat in sauces like this by going with a very high protein/fiber pasta component.  I like Barilla Plus for their very high protein and fiber Angel Hair pasta, and in yesterday's dish I added chopped sugar peas from our garden to the pasta while cooking, strained and added to the sauce with some cooked Italian sweet sausage.  (The pasta takes only 6-7 minutes to cook so adding the peas at the same time resulted in a nice crisp cook texture of the peas and their wonderful sweet flavor.)


Several pounds of tomatoes (the volume is flexible) I do not peel my tomatoes - I want the fiber of the skin, but if I have very large tomatoes I will core them.-- you can cut them into small sections if you like.
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 onion diced
a piece or two of Parmesan cheese rind (these freeze great for the next time you make sauce)
A spring of Greek Oregano
some basil if you have it

Place everything in a pot bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer, uncovered, until as thick as you like it (mine took about 3 hours yesterday).  I mashed a bit at the end because I wanted some chunks, but mostly a thick sauce consistency.  Use the largest pot you can to avoid splatters, the sauce will bubble.

I am looking forward to a big harvest of tomatoes this summer and planning on canning my sauce for the winter.

I use whatever tomatoes I have growing or find interesting at the farmers market.  I have done a golden sauce with just yellow tomatoes and it was heavenly, with a far lighter tomato almost sweet flavor.

I am trying a roma style tomato in the garden and we will see what I get :-)


Here is my vegetable lasagna recipe posted last year.  Think "out side the noodle" for delicious variations.

. . .

Our asparagus are coming up - oh boy!

What's growing in your garden that you are bringing to your table?

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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