Growing up, a big pot of spaghetti sauce bubbling away on the stove, as we called it, was a real treat that I looked forward to with great anticipation. It was an all day event to make spaghetti sauce. My mother would use the largest pot in the kitchen and, at first, when I was very young she would use supermarket canned tomatoes then she used canned tomatoes that she and my dad put up then they went through a period of freezing the bountiful tomatoes from the garden. I don't remember the base but I believe it was onions and garlic without the carrots or celery. My mother put in a lot of spices, meatballs and sausages. The sauce would cook all day on the back burner where it would bubble up like the tar in the tar pits on my favorite show Land of the Lost. The sauce was thin bodied but chunky with tomatoes, onions and meat and always had a little pools of slick fat on top when it hadn't been stirred for a while. My parents always served it with spaghetti, and that shake cheese in the green can.
My mother served a spaghetti dinner every other month or so,and even less during the the time period that my Grandmother served her Saturday spaghetti dinners. Eventually when I was a teenager and the arrival of ready to use pasta sauce on the market the original spaghetti dinner became even more rare.
Now, I serve pasta to my family often. Early in my adult life, I relied heavily on jarred sauce with the "special occasion" long cook pasta dinner. With my quest to clean up my family's diet moving away from prepackaged foods, I have found an excellent go to sauce. When I am at a loss over what to make for dinner and I need something quick, easy, nutritious and delicious - this is the sauce recipe I use. This recipe uses basic ingredients found in any pantry. While fresh basil is best, dried can be substituted for a small downgrade in fresh flavor. Even on our latest nights I can fire this sauce up and have a meal in 45 minutes or less.
Makes enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta
1 onion grated on the large hole of a box grater
3 tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves pushed through a press
½ teaspoon natural sugar
28 oz of crushed tomatoes (use chunkier version if you prefer the texture)
3 tablespoons basil leaves cut chiffonade style
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in medium heavy bottomed pot, add onions and their liquid and saute until soft and lightly browned.
Add salt, oregano and garlic cook until fragrant.
Stir in tomatoes and sugar and cook for 10 minutes.
Salt and Pepper to Taste