Friday, September 18, 2009

Garden Fresh Herbs= Delicious Homemade Sauce

This summer I planted a small herb garden out back next to the patio.  I only planted italian parsley, basil, thyme, garlic chives and a pot of rosemary.  We also planted my son's bean plant and sunflower seedling that he brought home at the end of the school year.  We kept the seedlings in the small plastics cups for a long time before planting, so I didn't expect them to survive, but they did.  Check out the huge sunflower! 

I LOVE being able to walk out the back door and cut my own fresh herbs.  It's very satisfying knowing that you grew something that can help nourish your body.  The green bean plant is small, but produces enough to pick a few beans every few days and enjoy as a snack.  I always forget how well basil grows and planted to much.  I'm thinking a batch of pesto is in my near future.  

I decided a big batch of homemade marinara would be the easiest way to use up some of the parsley and basil.  I picked up a huge 6lb can of crushed tomatoes at Sam's club for only $2.70, and combined elements from a few different recipes to come up with this sauce.  I like some sweetness in my sauce so I used a combination of balsamic and sugar.   After I made the marinara, I used half of it to make a bolognese sauce for our spaghetti dinner.  All of the kids ate without complaining, which makes me very happy!

Finished Marinara, Smells Delicious!!

Lisa's Big Batch of Marinara                         

1/3 cup olive oil
1  large spanish onion, chopped
4  cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp.  kosher salt
1 tsp.  black pepper
1 6lb 6oz  can crushed tomatoes (102 oz)
1 tsp.   dried italian seasoning
2 tbls.  balsamic vinegar
2 tbls.  sugar
1 handful  fresh parsley and basil, chopped

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onions for a 5 minutes until soft, then add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add entire can of crushed tomatoes, italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar and sugar..  Let this simmer for at least 1 hour.  Add parsley and basil at the end.   Use immediately or cool completely and store in fridge or freezer.

Spaghetti Bolognese

1 box  Ronzoni spaghetti  (in the purple box)

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water as directed on package.  Serve with homemade bolognese sauce below.

Lisa's Bolognese sauce:

3 tbls.  olive oil
1/2   small onion
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs  ground chuck
1/2 cup beef stock (chicken stock works too)
appx. 30oz (or 1/2) of the homemade marinara  (jarred sauce will work with this too)
salt and pepper
1-2 dashes   Cinnamon
1/4 cup  half -n-half or cream
parmesan cheese for serving
fresh parsley to garnish

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic until soft.  Turn heat up to High, add beef and brown until completely cooked.  Turn heat down to medium, add stock and cook until liquid is almost gone.  Add enough of the homemade marinara to get the consistency you like for your sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle a dash or two of cinnamon into the sauce.  Go easy on this because it can overpower everthing.  A dash will give a terrific background note to this sauce.  
Simmer on low for at least 20-30 minutes, or more if you have the time, the beef will get nice and tender.  Just before serving, add the half-n-half, or cream and heat through.    Enjoy with parmesan and fresh chopped parsley sprinkled over top.


Karine said...

Your bolognese sauce sounds so delicious! thanks for sharing :)

Sweet and Savory said...

I want to try your marinara sauce. I have been trying different ones, over the year but the perfect one has not yet arrived. They all have been good though.

Carly said...

I found your recipe after seeing what was available at Sam's club... and googling "What do you do with 102 ounces of crushed tomatoes?".

Sounds like a good recipe, now I want to buy a giant can of crushed tomatoes!