My family eats a LOT of spaghetti – it’s nutritious, it’s easy, and the kids love it. I have to admit, spaghetti is usually one of our “hurry-up” meals, so I tend to use a store bought jar of spaghetti sauce 99% of the time! However, we just got back from a trip to visit my grandparents, and they sent us home with a big box of delicious home-grown tomatoes, fresh-picked from their garden! So tonight our family was in for a treat — homemade spaghetti sauce.
Here’s a good, basic spaghetti sauce recipe:
- 6-8 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped*
- 1 medium onion (or 2 small), finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tsp dried parsley**
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp natural sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt or to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-based pot. Add onions and garlic, and sautee over medium heat until tender. Add water, tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes (longer is fine).
Uncover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until sauce has reduced to the desired consistency. Spoon over a pile of whole wheat spaghetti*** and enjoy!
* To peel tomatoes easily, make a small criss cross mark on each tomato with a sharp knife. Bring a pot of water to a boil and dunk each tomato into the water for about 30 seconds. Immediately transfer to a collander and rinse with cold water. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, you should be able to peel the skin right off!
**If you have fresh herbs on hand, by all means use them! You’ll need about 3 times the amount of fresh herbs as dry, and rather than adding them at the beginning, add them toward the end of the cooking time so that they retain their wonderful flavor!
***If you haven’t yet discovered whole wheat pasta, I really recommend it. Whole grain pasta contains more fiber, protein, folic acid, and b-vitamins than white flour pasta. In fact, a serving of whole wheat pasta has as much protein as a serving of almonds or peanut butter (7 grams)! I get mine from Trader Joe’s, as it only costs about $1/pound for organic, whole-wheat pasta, and they carry most shapes — spaghetti, fettuccine, rotini, and penne. You can also find whole wheat pasta at most major supermarkets, though they may be more expensive. The texture of whole wheat pasta takes a bit of getting used to, but after eating it for several years now, I actually prefer it to the white flour version!