There are some cooking tasks that lend themselves to an afternoon in the kitchen, radio on in the background, feeling the satisfaction that comes from a little work and a lot of reward. I believe the generations before us had this philosophy fine tuned in ways that can teach us plenty. Do you think your great-grandmother ran down to the Super Walmart and picked herself up a jar of spaghetti sauce? Or do you think she went to her garden, picked some tomatoes and got to work? Sometimes our lives are so busy, so fast-paced that we miss the whole point of cooking in the first place. It is a time of getting lost in our thoughts, preparing food to nourish our bodies, for the ones we love.
Making spaghetti sauce a few times a year is all of that for me. It’s taking simple, inexpensive ingredients and turning them into many jars of perfect sauce (and pizza sauce) that last me for a few months. I know what’s in it, I control the salt and it tastes fantastic. For about the cost of 2 jars of pre-made sauce, I have enough to make 6 meals and 5 pizzas. In today’s economy, this would be called a winner!
And I don’t waste my time in the kitchen making only 1 measly pot of sauce. Ohhhh no. I get the big can of organic tomato sauce and organic diced tomatoes at my local warehouse club store, and for the same amount of effort, I get more mileage out of my time spent dicing and stirring. I mean, if I’m going to chop 1 onion, why not chop 3? Or if I’m opening a can of diced tomatoes, what’s the difference if the can is a bit larger than my head? Same effort, quadruple the results. So shop those warehouse stores for deals!
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- 3 yellow onions, chopped fine
- 1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped fine
- 4 cloves of garlic, either minced or put through the press
- 3 cans tomato paste (the normal, small cans - 6 oz”ish”) - plus 2 more for the pizza sauce
- 1 HUGE can Organic Tomato Sauce (I buy the S&W brand at Costco and it’s 102 oz)
- 1 HUGE can Organic Diced Tomatoes (again, Costco size, around 106 oz)
- 1 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp basil
- 3 pinches of rosemary
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 heaping tsps sea salt
- 1) Heat olive oil over med high heat.
- 2) Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes.
- 3) Add parsley and garlic & saute another 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent/tender.
- 4) Add tomato paste, stir well. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Finally, add oregano, basil, rosemary, black pepper and salt.
- 5) Simmer for 1 hour. Make sure to stir occasionally and not simmer too hot so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- 6) Fill 6 quart jars with spaghetti sauce and set aside to cool. Once cooled, store in freezer.
- 7) With remaining sauce, mix in 2 additional cans of tomato paste. Then either blend the mixture with an immersion blender, or put it into a blender and puree until smooth.
- 8) Pour into pint jars - makes 5.
- 9) Let the sauces cool completely and then put in the freezer.
- TIP - make sure to only fill jars to just below the neck of the jar to give it room to expand when it freezes. No need to break perfectly good canning jars in the freezer. Trust me, the glass clean up isn’t fun.
Make sure to take your sauces out of the freezer to thaw the day before. Otherwise, you’ll be like me, sticking the jar into warm water, willing it to thaw faster at 6:30pm on a Monday with the kids at your heels reminding you of how hungry they are.