Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spaghetti/Pizza/Lasagna/Chili Tomato Sauce

I'm finally getting to this: my master sauce for the base of alot of meals. The seasonings change, depending on what dish I am making, but the method stays the same. Above is what I needed for lasagna. Once again, there is no "recipe", just taste as I go. I make my sauce not with tomato sauce, but with either whole or diced stewed tomatoes. Tomato sauce is so very acidic and I just find that it does not taste fresh. On the other hand, using fresh tomatoes would be cost prohibitive. So canned and stewed it is. I generally go for organic too, but didn't have any this time. The seasonings I use are oregano, basil and garlic. The basil and oregano are dried, but I usually use fresh garlic. Sea salt is also very important. It just tastes better and is better for us than table salt. Also, not pictured here is 2 lbs of ground that I had already browned with a clove of garlic.
Brown the meat with some oregano, basil, garlic (or powder--be careful with the powder) and sea salt. While it is browning, grind up the tomatoes in a food processor or blender until it is as smooth as you want it (if you have fresh garlic, it's nice to put a clove or two in so it can get ground up too). When the meat is browned, add the tomatoes and stir together. Season with more of the basil, oregano, garlic, and salt until it tastes like you want. I also add a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil for extra taste. Because you are using stewed tomatoes, this sauce will be a little watery. We've just gotten used to it, but you can cook it a little longer to boil some of that off. Noodles will soak it up after awhile, though. That's it for the sauce. If making spaghetti, just spoon it over your noodles!
To make lasagna, just layer the sauce with no-boil noodles (I like their taste and texture better than the boil-y kind) and mozzerella or Monterey Jack (my favorite).
For pizza sauce, I season the ground tomatoes much heavier (so the taste gets through all the toppings and bread), and also do not add the ground meat.
For the chili, I add 2 cans of pinto beans to the ground up tomatoes and the ground meat, only this time the seasonings are different: chili powder, cumin, sea salt and about half a carton of beef broth get added to the sauce. Serve with oyster crackers, cheddar and sour cream.

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