I’ve been tinkering around with homemade spaghetti sauce for quite some time now. While some of them have gotten a, “its pretty good“, none of them have achieved the coveted Jar Status. What is it with jarred spaghetti sauce, anyway? What is in there that makes those kids love it so much? Is it the sugar? The sodium? Whatever it is, it makes me feel like crap after I eat it.
This last one, though, was a winner. Finally. Whew. I think there are 3 main components to its success: tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. First up is whole San Marzano tomatoes. San Marzanos tomatoes have a flavor that is richer, sweeter, and less acidic. Using whole allow them to break down really well in the sauce. While my kids do like texture, they do not like chunky sauce that using a diced tomato would result in. Second is the tomato sauce. This photo here is a total and complete contradiction. I had made this sauce for lasagna 2 days prior, using Bionaturae strained tomatoes (which I purchased at my local co-op). I much preferred the taste of the sauce with that than with the organic sauce pictured. The final main player is the concentrated tomato paste. Far superior to the stuff in a can.
Cast of characters:
1/4 cup diced onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
28oz can San Marzano tomatoes- whole
1 TB concentrated tomato paste
2c. tomato sauce
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1 TB raw honey
splash of red wine- around 1TB
1/4 c. fresh basil
1/4 c. fresh italian parsley
sea salt + fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 TB olive oil or grapeseed oil. Add onion and saute until soft and lightly browned, around 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, seasoning, and turn heat to medium-high. Right before sauce begins to boil, add honey and reduce heat to low and simmer for 1-2 hr.
Before serving, add chopped basil and parsley. Adjust salt + pepper if needed.
I served it with a salad that was dressed with a simple dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and thyme. And the kids had their sauce with a serving of Gwenyth Paltrow’s turkey meatballs –they love them! The great thing about the meatballs is that you can omit (if you don’t have some of the fresh herbs) or substitute (spinach instead of arugula) and they still love them just as much. The sauce makes enough to feed a very hungry family of 5 and have leftovers.