I thought this would be a great time to share my favorite red/spaghetti sauce recipe. (Recipe at bottom of post) Years ago, I began experimenting with a good recipe I had found on the Internet. My family rated it a thumbs-up. Over the last decade I have adapted and changed it many times, until the recipe is my own.
The brand of tomatoes, jarred sauce and tomato paste has little to do with the finished recipe. Use your favorite brands, or what is on sale. If my local supermarket has a $1.00 a can sale on crushed tomatoes, I will buy as many as a dozen at a time. You see, the secret for my sauce isn’t in what brand I buy; the secret is in the onions.
I live with a husband who absolutely will not eat much of anything that has chopped pieces of onion in the recipe. I’ve learned how to cook without having pieces of the “offensive” onions in the finished dish. Sometimes that means using onion powder, or in the case of my spaghetti sauce, pulverizing the onion.
First, I chop the onion and “sweat” it. I’ve found that cooking the onion down in oil adds a harsh taste none of us likes. Although it goes against most advice on how to sweat an onion, I use water instead of oil. I gently heat the chopped pieces on a very low setting, in a non-stick pan, with a lid on to keep the moisture in. Stir often until the onions are translucent and soft.
In the meantime, add all sauce ingredients to a LARGE crock pot or an equally large cooking pot. The ingredients will almost reach the brim of the crock pot. You can cut easily cut the recipe in half, or even in thirds. I like to use fresh herbs, but dried will do just as well.
While you’ve been mixing the ingredients the onions should have softened. Remember to lift the lid and check them during the sweating. You don’t want them to have too many crispy edges. Excessive browning will add a bitter taste to the sauce.
Place cooked onions inside a food processor, add a cup of the sauce you have mixed. Blend them until they are completely liquified. This is the secret! The onions exude sweetness and flavor into the sauce when they are blended. Add this mixture to the sauce and whisk together.
Now simmer the sauce for 2-3 hours on low in the crock pot, or at the lowest temperature possible on the stove top. When the sauce is finished I FREEZE* it in quart sized jars or in BPA free containers. The mixture usually makes 6 – 8 quarts. If you like meaty spaghetti sauce, add up to 3 lbs browned hamburger to the sauce after you blend and add the onion mixture. I prefer the sauce without the meat.
*Frozen liquids expand. Leave at least a 1 1/2 inch cushion of space at the top of your containers.
RED/SPAGHETTI SAUCE RECIPE
2 large or 3 medium onions chopped (sweated until soft and blended
with sauce in food processor)
3 29 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
3 24 ounce jarred spaghetti sauce
3 6 ounce cans tomato paste
3/4 C sugar
3 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp dried basil, or several leaves fresh chopped
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like very spicy sauce)
1/1/2 tsp salt (You can add more as you adjust the taste)
1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings (or a blend of fresh oregano
* Optional 3 lbs browned hamburger for a meaty sauce.
(If you add hamburger, red sauce mixture must be heated 1/2 at a time.
The amount of sauce will be too large for one crockpot to handle)
Mix together, heat for 2-3 hours on lowest temperature. See directions & tips above.
(This recipe easily reduces by half or thirds)
6 – 8 quart canning jars. Freezes well.