Monday, February 1, 2010

Sauce, an all day affair!

Lots of people have asked me for a recipe for sauce. I don't really follow the same recipe everytime, so I was hoping that I might be able to share how I do it with pictures.

First, I coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and saute some onion. I also throw in some red pepper flakes. (Per can of crushed tomato, I tend to use one small onion and 4 garlic cloves.)

While that is softening, I chop up the garlic. I don't add the garlic until the onion is almost done to avoid burning it. So when it is almost done I throw the garlic in.

When the garlic has softened a bit, I add some red wine. I basically add enough to cover the onions and garlic. It doesn't have to be an expensive one. I like to use the Trader Joe's $2.99 bottle! I just would not use cooking wine, it has too much sugar in it.
I promise that your sauce will not taste like wine. If it did, my dear husband would not like it. He hates wine in his food. I just think it deepens the flavor of the sauce.
Once the wine is in, I turn the heat up, so the red wine can reduce.
(If you are making this in the crockpot, I would not add the wine, because it will not reduce and you will get a winey flavor, trust me, that has happened to me.On a side note, though I do a lot in the crockpot, I do not like to make sauce in it.)

When the red wine is almost gone I add the crushed tomatoes. My favorite crushed tomatoes to use are Tuttorosso. They don't sell them at all grocery stores down here. One place I can always find them is B.J.'s. They usually also have the best price.

Once the wine has reduced, I turn down the heat and begin adding the tomatoes. It will be pretty thick, so what I do is fill each can I use with some water and swish it around a little until I get most of the tomato cleaned off the inside of the can.
You could use broth here if you are not going to be cooking your sauce all day. It will make it more flavorful.
After all the tomatoes are in, I start added some dried spices, either an Italian Seasoning Blend or some basil and oregano. I do not measure these. I also add my salt and pepper here. My mom adds some sugar at this point. We don't, not sure why, just don't. It is supposed to make your sauce less acidic.
Mix everything together and let it heat through. While this is happening, start your meatballs.

While the sauce is beginning to heat through, I begin making my meatballs.

I really like to use Meatball Mix for the meatballs. That is what our family likes best. It is a combination of beef, pork and veal. B.J.'s sells it already mixed. If you don't care for the those meats, you can easily just use beef or turkey.

Per lb of meat, I add:
-one egg
-1 palmful parm cheese
-2 handfulls breadcrumbs
-a splash of worcheshire sauce
-1-2 garlic cloves minced
-salt and pepper

In the past I have tried adding milk, but we didn't seem to notice a difference in the meatballs, so I don't do it anymore. Here is what it looks like before I mix it.

Once I mix it, I use my middle cookie scoop (2 tbs.) to make uniform meatballs. I'll scoop them all on the board and them shape them after that.
Once they are all shaped, I put them in the sauce raw. Yes, raw! They will cook through in the sauce all day.
At this point you can also add any combination of meats. I have used sausage, pepperoni and pork. My boys tend to really enjoy it with just meatballs so that is how I do it most times. I will admit that when I was a meat eater, I LOVED pepperoni in it!!

Place them in gently and mix gently so they do not break.

After the meatballs are in, I just let the sauce simmer on low all day. I make sure that stir it every now and then. As the sauce cooks, it will thicken and get darker. I usually start mine in the morning and leave it on until dinner time. The longer, the better. The smell in the house is wonderful!

I wish I have more details for you. If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me!

Let me know if you try it!

Blessings, Jen


  1. This sounds super easy....even I could make this! Can't wait to try your recipe!

  2. Thank you so much for doing this post. I've been wanting to know about your sauce for like, forever :D.

    I'll let you know how my attempt turns out..

  3. Hey Jen,

    They sell Tuttoroso tomatoes at some of the Harris Teeter's in the area. I love their tomatoes as well and I think they are 50% off this week.

    Thanks for the recipes!