Ken’s Best Spaghetti Sauce
I like to call it the “world’s best spaghetti sauce” but that sounds a bit presumptuous.
This recipe is a bit flexible and I know that drives some of you precision types crazy but I have to be able to accommodate whatever the garden yields. My unit of measure is the empty can from the crushed tomatoes.
This is a large batch of spaghetti sauce that I freeze in serving sized portions. It doesn’t take much longer to do the large version than a single meal size and the kitchen gets equally messy both ways. These can be defrosted in about the same time as it takes to boil the pasta. Quick and delicious winter dinner.
Use a large heavy soup cauldron and very low heat.
5 - large, 28oz, cans of Tomatoes, mixture of crushed and chopped
3 - small, 5.5oz cans of Tomato paste
Pour all of this into the cauldron and add 3 - 5 tablespoons of salt and start to simmer.
Chop a mixture of Onions / Shallots into pieces, with a maximum size of about 0.5 in , enough to fill one of the empty tomato cans, and saute with a little olive oil over low heat until soft. Add to the cauldron.
Chop to 0.5 in or shred, Carrots, about one Tomato can full, saute as above and add to cauldron.
Chop celery same size, at least 1 whole cans worth, saute as above and add to cauldron
Chop a variety of Peppers, slightly larger pieces, at least 2 cans, and add to cauldron without sauteing. We like the texture and they don’t need to softened.
Chop about 1/8 can of fresh garlic, adjust to your taste and add to the cauldron. I love garlic.
Continue to stir the spaghetti sauce mixture in the cauldron as you add new ingredients and whenever it seems appropriate. The mixture will bubble and erupt, occasionally coating the nearby walls. Covering the cauldron helps.
3lb of lean ground beef. Saute the meat until it is just brown and crumbly. Add to cauldron leaving most of the liquid fat behind. It adds taste but is not that healthy.
The liquidity of the sauce can vary depending on the water content of the vegetables. Adjust so that it is just liquid. I use red wine for this purpose.
Now for the magic. The seasoning. You may have adjusted the heat by the peppers you added but if they were all sweet then add ground cayenne to suit your taste. Up to ½ a can of fresh chopped basil. Up to ½ can of fresh chopped Oregano. Less of both if using dried herbs. You may also add some thyme. Black pepper until you get tired of turning the pepper mill. Be generous with the herbs, remember you are making at least 20+ servings of sauce.
Continue to simmer the sauce for a couple of hours.
About 15 minutes before serving, add at least1.5 tomato cans of fresh chopped mushrooms. In this last 15 minutes, taste frequently and adjust the salt and cayenne to suit your taste.
Do make sure that you eat some of your spaghetti sauce fresh, on the day that you made it. It tastes wonderful after spending the day chopping and stirring. Then freeze the remainder in serving sized portions. I use zip-lock bags for this step.
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