Yesterday was one of those crazy days where everything takes longer than you were planning. I went for a run – that took longer than I expected, got some unexpected phone calls, and then had a lunch meeting which also ran long. And you know, the puppy, and all the time sucking that comes along with him. It was all good, but it just throws my day off – and I’m not that great a planner to begin with.
I had planned to make sauce this Sunday, like I try to do every week, but I got kind of crazy with all the yard work and the kids and the rain…
My mom made sauce every Sunday when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn. The second apartment we lived in was in a very Italian neighborhood, so everybody made sauce on Sunday. In fact, the next door neighbors made their own wine in barrels. They even stomped their own grapes. The grandmother of the family, a stout woman who lived with them, was always dressed in black with her white hair in a little bun – mourning her late husband, was the “stomper.” It was quite a sight.
For busy moms, a big batch of sauce can be a lifesaver. I can get at least two meals, if not three from a single batch and the sauce can also be frozen for use later on as an last minute dinner. Plus, a good sauce is something to be proud of.
Like almost any classic dish, everyone has their own twist on how they make it. My grandmother always used a bay leaf, my aunt lets hers cook for hours and my mother always cooked hers with pork. Me, I put sugar in my sauce. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, but I think it makes the sauce taste delicious.
1 tsp fennel seeds
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
3-28 oz. cans of tomato puree
1-28 oz. can of diced tomatoes (plain)
1-28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbs dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1-2 tbs sugar
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Add fennel seeds and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. I cook them until I can smell the fennel. Add garlic and onion, cook until onion is translucent, about 6-8 minute, stirring occasionally. Add puree, diced and crushed tomatoes. Stir. Stir in the basil and oregano. Taste and add sugar. Alternatively, you can add the salt and pepper first, and then the sugar. Just be certain to keep tasting. Once you’re satisfied, bring the sauce to a boil and then turn down heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes or longer, depending on how thick you like your sauce. Serve over pasta!
You’ll notice I have no picture of the final product. That’s because I didin’t actually get to eat it. Instead, I was at a movie night with some girlfriends – if you haven’t seen Bridesmaids, I highly recommend it. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
I have a meatball recipe I can also share. If you’d like it, let me know in the comments!