Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pasta Sauce

I have discovered that I am quite good at making pasta sauce.

Nothing fancy mind you, just a basic, yummy, tomato-based pasta sauce.

Before I met my Englishman, pasta sauce generally came out of a jar. I think Raguletto was the favoured brand as it was cheap but still yummy. Sometimes, I would almost make the sauce from 'scratch' if I was making Spaghetti bolognaise. But it would still start with a jar.

My Englishman taught me to make pasta sauce from scratch....but at some point I got so good at it that I'm the one who tends to make pasta sauce at our place these days!

So here's a general run down of how I make my sauce. It's pretty rough, I make it up depending on what we have in the fridge but there are a few basics that I always use, which are:

* Fresh tomatoes - for a pasta sauce for 2-3, I use anywhere between 2-4 fresh tomatoes, chopped fairly small. If I dont have any (or only one) I substitute tinned toms (diced, crushed, whatever!)
* Onions - we buy bags of smaller brown onions and I'd use 1 or 2 of these, chopped kind of medium....
* Garlic - I use fresh but I love the jarred minced stuff, so convenient!
* Basil - I like fresh ( used to have a herb garden but it died) ..... I keep a squeezy thing of basil in the fridge just in case....
* Salt and Pepper - of course :-)
* Tomato paste - to help thicken the sauce. I usually throw in some tomato ketchup/sauce as well.

The rest, like I said, depends on what's in the fridge/cupboard! For example, tonight i added:

* 1/2 a capsicum, chopped small
* 3 or 4 button mushrooms, sliced
* a couple of splashes of red wine vinegar
* Some water

Other things I like to add include:
* Red wine
* Oregano (when I remember)
* Other herbs (as above!)
* Stock
*Sweet Chilli sauce
* Bbq sauce

So the method goes something like this....

* Get everything chopped first so you can't get confused!
* Heat a fry pan and add a splash of oil (less than a tablespoon, more than a teaspoon)
* Add the onions and half the garlic
* Saute the onions until they start to soften and brown
* Then add the capsicum (if you're using it) - as it takes longer to cook than the other vegies
* Add the tomatoes, squeeze in some tomato paste and tomato ketchup (and any other sauce you want to add), stir it a lot and keep the heat up for now
* add some basil, salt, pepper, a splash of red wine or red wine vinegar, the rest of the garlic, and maybe some water if its getting a bit thick/chunky...
* Turn the heat down a bit and let it simmer. Taste it. If its too salty, add some water or some tomato sauce. If its too sweet,, add some salt, or vinegar.
* Let it simmer as long as you like! Add a bit more water, or stock, as you go to keep it from getting too thick.
* Cook your pasta. We usually get some Latino Ravioli, the fresh stuff that cooks in 3 minutes. Tonight, because we're trying to save money, we just had good old dried fettucine that takes about 10 minutes to cook.
*When the pasta is all cooked, drain it and give it a rinse with hot water..
* Serving is up to you. My Englishman likes his pasta put in the bowl and the sauce spooned on after.....whereas I like to mix it all together in the saucepan before I serve it!

That's it. I should have taken pictures but I forgot! Anyway........we enjoyed it. The Englishman thought my sauce was a little too sweet (thanks to a bit too much tommy sauce) but I liked it today. I've made better though.

Bon Appetite!

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