Winter Spaghetti Sauce

This is a well-loved recipe.

Sous Chef Lauren and I made it together for the first time when were maybe 15 years old?  So this piece of paper has been in existence for…ahem…let’s just say over 10 years.  When we made it for her family for the first time, we were wowed.  So was Mrs. SCL.  So she kept the recipe.  Which is great, because the other day, when I was dying to make it again and couldn’t find it on the Williams Sonoma recipes page anymore, I had somewhere to turn.

This is no standard marinara.  Any brightness your tomatoes hold is not made brighter by adding chopped carrots.  Instead, it’s masked by the balsamic vinegar and red wine.  Those two bring out an entirely different flavor in the tomatoes.  Something much deeper and darker.  The pinch of red pepper flakes, however, will clear those sniffles that have been plaguing you since the temperatures dropped.  This sauce perfect for winter.  And for a meat-free Sunday dinner.

Yes, those are possible.

Did you know that how you eat spaghetti says a lot about you? I used to take great care setting the table on spaghetti nights at home to ensure everyone had the proper hardware.  Pops got a knife for cutting, Wooden Nickels got a twirling spoon.

I much prefer twirling sans spoon.

I don’t waste as much time between bites that way.

In case you can’t read the recipe in the first picture, or you want my adaptations:  To make enough Winter Spaghetti Sauce to coat a pound of pasta (lightly), you will need:

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1, 28 oz. can diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • large pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 C dry red wine
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in large fry pan and add onion.  Saute till soft, about 10 minutes.  The longer you let the onions go here, the more flavor you develop.  Andie taught me that when I learned to make her favorite sauce.  Add garlic and saute, stirring often, 1 more minute.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to simmer, reduce heat to low, cooking sauce gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent browning on the bottom of the pan.  If you’ve used whole tomatoes, use wooden spoon to break them up into pieces.  If you’re a purist, take the sauce off heat, let cook, and puree in the bowl of a food processor, or blender till smooth.  Reheat in saucepan.  That’s way too much time and way too many dishes for me.  If you don’t bat an eye at a little texture, serve as is.

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