So, last night my wonderful boyfriend took met to Limoncello in West Chester. It was extremely excellent. I was very impressed with their sauce, which is a difficult task, as I am a total sauce snob. I love red sauce. I love to eat it and I love to make it. I do many variations on my classic sauce, thick or thin, chunky or smooth, spicy or mild, wine or no wine, meat or no meat), but they all start the same way. A can. You may think it's cheating, but you can't get even half way decent tomatoes in winter. And all it does is save you from boiling and pureeing the tomatoes, which I will do in summer (sometimes), for absolutely fresh sauce, but if your lazy, or you can't find succulent tomatoes, a can will do just fine. Make it right and no one will no the difference.
Basic Tomato Sauce:
1 Yellow onion
2-4 garlic cloves
3-4 oz of tomato paste (about half a small can)
1 Large Can of Tomato Sauce
Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes.
Fresh herbs or dried (any number of): oregano, parsley, basil, sage, thyme (or you can use Italian seasoning)
Fresh Cilantro (sounds weird, but trust me (ok it's optional)
Dice the onion and garlic as small as you can, season with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and sauté the garlic and onions until onions are soft and translucent. Add tomato paste to the onions and swirl around, add the can of tomato sauce. Stir around add dry herbs and red pepper flakes to taste, you may also want additional salt and pepper. If using fresh herb add a little more than half now and save the rest for later. Season to taste, and let sauce simmer until the pasta is ready. Right before serving mix in the rest of the fresh herbs.
Voila it is that easy. (I told you it was simple). Feel free to kick the spice up a notch with more red pepper flakes and chili powder. Or fancy it up (and thin it out) with your favorite red wine. Simmer meat balls (homemade, of course) in the sauce, sausage pieces, or ground beef. If you want it thicker, use stewed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes) and any fresh veggies you like (I like pepper's and mushrooms).
Just because I'm feeling generous (and because I'm thinking about meatballs) I will tell you how I make my meatballs.
1 Pound of Ground beef (85-5)
1 Pound ground lamb
1 small yellow onion
1/2 cup (approximately) of bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a cookie pan (Pam is fine). Chop the onion as small as possible, and mix with the meat. Add seasonings and mix around. Mix the cheese (as much as you want) with the breadcrumbs. Add eggs and breadcrumb mixture. Stir with your hands until everything is combined and distributed evenly. Make into balls, as small or large as you like. Put on the cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil over them. Cook at 375 for about 10 minutes, then finish cooking covered in the sauce.
Now I want spaghetti and meatballs...