After some trial and error, I am ready to immortalize my basic pasta sauce recipe. I like my sauce to be relatively smooth, with just tomato chunks and meat for texture. I make a broth and an infused oil to extract the flavors from the vegetables and herbs, making a surprisingly flavorful sauce.
This is ideally made with home-canned tomatoes, but I use store bought cans in the recipe since I so rarely have a lot of home canned tomatoes on hand. I think one and a half pints of home-canned tomatoes would be roughly equivalent. If using store bought tomatoes, obviously higher end Roma or San Marzano varieties would be preferable.
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, broken into a few pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup parsely with stems
- 1 bay leaf
Add 4 cups water to the vegetables in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for one hour. Strain the stock, then return to a boil and reduce to two cups
Once the vegetable stock is made, we can prepare the simple sauce
- 1 pound ground beef, pork, or lamb
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cans whole or diced tomatoes
Heat the oil in a skillet or saucepan. Season the meat with salt and pepper an add to the pot. Brown over medium high heat until just starting to crisp. If there is a lot of fat in the pan, drain all but about 2 tbsp.
Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes along with the vegetable stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer one hour. Using a potato masher, crush the tomatoes to your desired level of chunkiness.
While the sauce is simmering, we make the infused oil.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- A large pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 spring fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp dried
Combine all ingredients in a small skillet. Place over low heat. If the garlic begins to sizzle, remove from heat for a few seconds. After ten minutes over low heat, remove from the burner and allow to sit for 30 minutes or so. Strain the oil into a small bowl.
When the sauce is thickened and the oil is ready, stir the oil into the sauce just before serving, along with a handful of chopped Italian parsley.