February 19, 2012

Basic Tomato Sauce

This stuff works as a great base for many Italian dishes.  Mmm!  And, I hope you love garlic, because I love garlic, and this stuff has a lot of it.  Here, you have a meat-based sauce, though it's very easy to go meatless*.  So, do as you please!

You'll need:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 lb. (500 g**) minced meat - mine's a mix of beef and pork
28-oz. (800 g) can tomatoes (crushed or diced)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3-4 torn bay leaves

GARLIC: Heat a large skillet on med-low and add the olive oil to skillet. Add garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant and lightly browned (approx. 1 minute), stirring constantly. Add the crushed red pepper, if desired.

MEAT: Add meat. Continuously break up meat into small bits and fry until no longer pink. Add a small amount of the tomatoes to the pan and loosen the drippings from the skillet with the spatula.

TOMATOES + SPICES: Add the rest of the tomatoes, oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine. Add bay leaves.

SIMMER: Bring to a boil, lower temperature, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.

USE: Remove and discard bay leaves, store in your refrigerator (up to 2 days) for a later day, or incorporate into your current dish, like I'm doing (soon-to-come: Zucchini Lasagna!).

*Meatless: Simply substitute the meat with 1 large yellow onion, diced, and fry it for 2-3 minutes before adding the garlic and crushed red pepper.

**500 grams is not 1 pound.  However, I buy meat by the kilo and I just halve it for my recipes.  It's really 453 g/lb.  So, if you visit me in Europe you get more meat in your dishes!

I would love knowing what you use this for! Spaghetti? Classic Lasagna? Do tell.

Also, any other variations?

Off to make Zucchini Lasagna...

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