Italian Roots

My dad’s mom is Italian.  That means, that she is an unbelievable cook, she loves her family to pieces, and she can throw an amazing party.  Gavin’s Dad’s is Italian.  That means that Gavin’s wonderful, Canadian mother had to perfect the art of cooking meat balls, putting together anti pasta platters and making the perfect sauce…let me just tell you…her home made meat balls and sauce will knock your socks off!  So, when Gavin and I got married…I felt the need to carry on the Italian legacy…I want to make sure our kids grow up on fresh baked Italian bread, perfectly tender meat balls, and really amazing home made sauce.  Last year, I set out on a quest to make meat balls and sauce by combining my grandma’s way of doing things, with the Tarquinio way of doing things.

My first step was perfecting the sauce.  It is really very simple…only a few ingredients and very little work…In my opinion, it is all about the freshness of the ingredients and the length of cooking time.  So, here is my version of homemade pasta sauce!

Homemade Pasta Sauce

5 large cloves of Garlic, crushed

2 Medium onions, chopped

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

14 Roma Tomatoes

2 Cups fresh Basil leaves

1/2 Cup Tomato Paste

1/4 Cup water

1 teaspoon dried Oregano

1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper flakes

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

To prepare the tomatoes, wash them, cut them in half long ways, and then take out the seeds, then cut each half into quarters.

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, combine the onions and garlic and saute in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and half of the salt and cook until the skins start to pull away.

Pour the tomato mixture, and the Basil into a blender and blend until it takes on the texture of pasta sauce.  Pour this mixture into a 6 quart pot over medium heat.  At this point, your sauce will look a little light in color and be a bit runny…but don’t worry!  Mix the tomato paste with the water to thin it out a bit and add it to the sauce.  Mix well.  Then, add the oregano, the rest of the salt, and the red pepper flakes.  Bring everything to a boil.  Once the sauce has started to boil, reduce the heat to low and let it cook…preferably for about 4 hours…if you don’t have four hours, let it cook for as long as you can….this allows the flavors to really marry together!

Once the sauce has cooked, you can use it right then, or store it in the fridge for up to a week…or in the freezer for a few months!  This recipe can be easily multiplied so that you can have enough sauce in your freezer to last you until summer!