Saturday, August 13, 2011

Adventures in Spaghetti

I might have gone a little bit nuts at the farmers' market in Tower Grove Park this morning.  Okay, maybe I went a LOT nuts...whatever.  Since James is on call all weekend, I figured I'd spend a little time in the kitchen working on my spaghetti sauce recipe.  Over the past 10 years or so, I've used a spaghetti sauce recipe that starts with a commercially jarred sauce, simply adding fresh ingredients to that base.  But I thought it would taste even better if everything in the sauce was fresh, so today I decided to experiment.

Here's the lineup...onions, tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, carrots, olive oil, wine, garlic powder, onion powder, san marzano tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

A really huge cast iron pot...

 even bigger cutting board...

...lots of fresh herbs on the back deck...

Unfortunately, I had to buy the tomatoes, since the local wildlife have already enjoyed ALL of mine on my behalf.  Stupid squirrels.

So here's what I did.  I chopped up the onions.

...and the carrots...

I made the carrots really small, so they'd soften quickly, and I tossed them (along with the onions) into the pot with olive oil to soften up for about 8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, I peeled and grated the garlic.  Yes, I grate my garlic rather than chopping it.  Just call me Rachael Ray.

The next step is where things went awry.  I thought that I would make the tomato puree by pulsing some canned San Marzano tomatoes in the food processor.  They are supposed to taste great, because they grow in the fertile soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius in Italy, and they're really famous.  Well, let me tell you that I didn't really like the taste.  SO....I made two batches - one with the SM tomatoes pureed, and one with some tomatoes from the farmers' market pureed.  I liked the fresh stuff much better.  Lesson learned.

Then, I chopped up some (like a LOT of) tomatoes and threw them in the pot. 

For some extra tomato goodness, I put in some tomato paste.

Then I picked some basil and oregano from the garden, chopped it, and tossed it in.

Then I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a little sugar, and about a fourth of a bottle of chianti.  I let that simmer for about an hour, and it was fabulous!!

The stuff with the fresh tomatoes was much tastier than the stuff with the canned ones, although they were both much better than what you buy in the spaghetti sauce section of the grocery store.  Why not try to make your own?  It's actually not hard, and it's delicious!!

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