The World’s Best Pasta Sauce
So, I’m going to open this post with a word that has, recently, become a dirty word in our house.
Yup, recently “tomatoes” has been a bad word, mostly because of the numbers of them that we’ve been getting both from our CSA at Gorman Farm and the number that our brother-in-law is growing in his garden. Last week, we got 15 tomatoes of various types from our CSA, and we had already gotten 4 beefsteak and 9 Romas from our bro-in-law.
Now, the blonde’s sister, the one who hosted the True Blood party, and her husband have a decent sized garden in their yard. OK, their garden is a tad on the big side, and they aren’t vegan or vegetarian, they just grow a crap-load of veggies. Which makes our lives easy, generally. Except for the aforementioned tomatoes.
So what do you do when you have tomatoes coming out of your ears? Well, that’s easy, you make salsa and pasta sauce. So this week, I made two full batches of pasta sauce, and one jar of salsa. Then on Friday, we got 14 more tomatoes: 9 Romas, and 5 reds. Oh well. . .
In celebration of these prolific love-apples, I’m going to do something completely unimaginable.
I’m going to post my mom’s pasta sauce recipe.
See, my mother makes, hands-down, the best pasta sauce in the world. She gave me the recipe a while ago, and while I battled with it, I never managed to make it right. Now that I’m vegan, use of Parmesan cheese is no longer an option, and, to be honest, my mother’s recipe called for about 1 cup of olive oil. I try to cut that down by a bunch. I also didn’t worry about the ever-present meatballs or braciole that go in the sauce. If you are a person that must have “meat” in your pasta, I’ll add that note at the end.
Mom’s Pasta Sauce. . . Best Ever
Tomatoes (I used 10 Romas, 1 beefsteak, and 7 red tomatoes, but you really want to fill your blender, and then add about another 25%)
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, roughly chopped
1 green onion, roughly chopped
Fresh basil, about 3 Tbsp, roughly chopped
1/8 c. tomato paste
2 tsp. Dried parsley
2 tsp. thyme
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
3-4 grinds black pepper
salt to taste
Quarter and seed the tomatoes, and drop them into the blender. I used my Vitamix at 7.
Blend the tomatoes until they are smooth, but not super liquid-y. Add the tomatoes until they are all run through the blender. Add the tomato paste, and blend to mix.
Drop in about 1/2 the basil, and pulse to mix into the tomato puree. You want the basil chopped and mixed, not pureed, so be gentle. I ran the Vitamix at 6 to suck them down, and then turned it down to 2 right away, and ran it for about 30 seconds.
Next, add 1Tbsp olive oil to a large pot, and add the green onion. Heat on medium, and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. (Somehow, I believe that using a wooden spoon makes a difference. If possible, brandish it as if it were a weapon at your kids for being loud. I think my and my brother’s fear of that spoon helped season the sauce. Maybe I’m just nuts. . .)
Once the onion is fragrant and starting to turn clear, add the garlic, and cook for about 3 more minutes. You don’t want to garlic to turn golden, just to become fragrant. If it starts to turn color, it may be overdone. Watch it carefully.
**If you are adding meatballs, this is where you add them. You’ll want to use whole garlic cloves instead of chopped, and remove them before adding the meatballs. Cook the meatballs in the oil, and then remove them to drain on a paper-towel. Add more oil if you need to to keep the meatballs from burning. Once all your meatballs are done, then add the chopped garlic, as before, get it golden, and proceed.**
Once all of that is done, dump in the tomato and basil puree, and give a few quick stirs, again with the wooden spoon. Add the dry spices, and stir them in. Get your sauce to a boil stirring occasionally, and then turn down to med-low or low heat. Allow it to simmer for at least three hours, more if you want a much thicker sauce.
**Also, if you don’t have tomato paste, this is where you can make up for it. Keep it at a low boil for up to 30 minutes, and then turn it down to a simmer. With the lid off, stirring occasionally, just simmer until you are close to the thickness you want.**
As you get closer to the end of your cooking time, taste for salt and nutritional yeast. I usually need to add an additional tablespoon of nutritional yeast before finishing, and sometimes another pinch or two of salt. I haven’t made this with vegan cheese-and-eggplant-braciole, but I’m considering it, as we have eggplant from our CSA. But, have fun with what you add to this. It is a great base sauce. Add ground TVP or seitan and make it a “meat” sauce. Or add a bunch of lightly sauteed mushrooms and make it a mushroom-Bolognese if you’d like.
What do you do with your pasta sauce? Anything special, or is marinara your favorite?