Monday, September 20, 2010

Tomato Sauce...

Must be made from scratch!

...otherwise "you're no daughter of mine!"

I don't believe my mother ever said those exact words, but she did subliminally {and not so subliminally} drive that idea deep inside my head. 
Pasta sauce was a sacred event in our home.

I watched my mother make her "Sunday Gravy" with neck bones and crushed tomatoes. I was slightly disgusted with the whole concept of bones simmering in sauce, but I was young, and Mama knew best. 

And so did my Grandma...

My dear father was Irish, why he chose an Italian bride is quite a mystery. Surely he knew she'd rather go straight to hell than serve up a bowl of Irish stew!?!
They lived happily together for 57 years...evidently he learned to love pasta.


I write this post because my darling TeacherGirl just called to ask me for my tomato sauce recipe. I was surprised, and a tad proud that she didn't consider the Ragu or Prego option.

My recipe is very basic.
From the picture above you may notice that the basil is dried and not fresh.
Now that my nest is empty I have plenty of time to follow Mama's recipe, and sometimes I do. But I've noticed that no one seems to comment on the difference. And I'm a believer in doing as little as possible, especially in the kitchen. 
{I do use fresh herbs when I have them.}

So this is my simple, quick, "no neck bone sauce"...It's better than Ragu but not as good as Mama's...


2-28 oz cans of tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pat of unsalted butter

Heat oil in saucepan.
Add garlic and onions
Saute until translucent (don't burn them!)
Slowly add tomato sauce.
Add the rest of the ingredients except butter

Cover and cook over low-med. heat for 45"
Add butter pat, let melt, then stir.
(the butter and sugar cut down the acidity)

Serve over your favorite pasta!

{When cooking your pasta noodles, add salt and a little olive oil to the water. It prevents sticky noodles and seasons the pasta.}

**Remember...this isn't a recipe that would make an Italian cook proud. 
This is simple, tasty, and my family loves it.
I take great pride in knowing I've never served sauce from a jar, 
and that's just the Italian in me.
Sauce from a jar is not a mortal sin...just a venial one.**
I apologize for my Catholic sarcasm.

Please don't forget the cheese...I do use fresh parmesan!
At least this makes my Mama proud.

If anyone wants my mother's Sunday Gravy recipe just email me.
I'll gladly give you her phone number. 
She'd love to tell more people how her daughter never respects tradition.


"Life is too short, and I'm Italian. 
I'd much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0." 

~Sophia Bush