Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hitting the sauce

As a half-Italian kid, I regarded sauce as a mystery. (It was always “sauce,” never “gravy.”) My grandma made sauce in her kitchen. We took large amounts home with us in Tupperware. End of story.

Now, with a little help from my wife Elaine, I’ve started making sauce. It is ridiculously easy to do. Sauce from a jar? Not in my kitchen, as a commercial once said. Here’s my recipe:

1 28 oz. can Cento Tomato Puree
olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. sea salt¹
20 turns of a McCormick Black Peppercorn grinder (between 1/8 and 1/4 tsp.)
20 turns of a McCormick Italian Seasoning grinder (between 1/8 and 1/4 tsp.)²
1 tbsp. sugar
3 oz. red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, says I)

Brown onions in oil. Add garlic. Add basil, oregano, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and sugar, and stir. Add wine and stir.³ Add the tomato puree and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for one hour, or two, or more.

Thank you, Elaine, for encouraging me in this adventure in cooking (and for everything else). Yes, today would be a good day to hit the sauce.

[January 2023: I’ve made minor revisions, doubling the salt and adding optional hours to the cooking time.]

¹ This recipe has a fraction of the salt found in jarred sauces. You won’t miss the extra salt. Promise.

² If you choose a different brand of Italian seasoning, make it one without basil and oregano. The McCormick grinder is mostly rosemary, black pepper, and red pepper.

³ It’s Elaine who suggests adding the wine after adding the spices, for maximum distribution of flavor.

comments: 5

Elaine Fine said...

I'll add my two cents: THIS SAUCE IS DELICIOUS

Geo-B said...

Just as there's no crying in baseball, there's no footnotes in recipes.

Michael Leddy said...

Thank you, Elaine.

George, if one has been reading David Foster Wallace, there will be. I’d have added more, but the HTML code for those small numbers doesn’t go above 3.

Elaine said...

I'm not trying to start trouble, but if you grow your own tomatoes and use a Victorio to process the tomatoes, you will hardly believe the incredible improvement in the flavor. In case you are hesitating, if you'll plant the garden, I'll send you my Victorio. (Sadly, or happily, grown children move away, and one no longer needs 40 quarts of tomato sauce annually.) And I'm not sure I'd be up to processing that much anyhow, now.... Just say the word.

Michael Leddy said...

What a generous offer, Elaine! We’ve tried growing things, but lack real dedication. I think your strainer should be in better hands, with greener thumbs. :)