On Staying for Dinner

I’m pretty much in constant motion.  I like to-do lists, I like to multi-task, and I like to over-schedule myself, stress out about it, and then ultimately end up enjoying everything I have going on at once.  That’s my idea of a good time.  I’ve always been this way (just ask Wooden Nickels), and I’m guessing there’s no changing me now.

When I was younger, I didn’t like to be alone.  Not in the, I’m scared the boogey-man is about to snatch me up way, in the, let me fill my day with soccer games and trips to the library and play dates so I am never by myself way.  Sous Chef Lauren would come over, we would spend hours creating the most beautifully designed interiors in my Playmobil house, and when our time together was winding to a close I would ask my mom a question,  “Can Lauren stay for dinner?”  We usually had spaghetti.

{memories, anyone?}

I like to be in good company as much as possible.  And now that I’m tall enough to reach the stove and old enough to turn it on, I like to cook for everyone who crosses my path.

There’s nothing better than reading a blog and feeling like you know its author.  One whose stories are personal, but never TMI.  One who writes in such a way that you feel welcome to scroll through pages and pages of archives.  One who you wish you could have over for dinner.  That’s Andie, of Can You Stay for Dinner fame.  Her blog showed up in my Twitter feed one day, and I’m eternally grateful for it.

After spending a lazy afternoon reading Andie’s blog, I noticed a pattern.  She makes this tomato sauce that she can’t get enough of over and over.  She raves about it.  It’s a family recipe.  Which are always the best kind.  Obviously, the first dish I made from Andie’s blog was the spaghetti sauce.

This is the kind of sauce that makes you swear you’ll never buy jarred sauce again.  You take one taste and you know that making your own tomato sauce is ten million times better than buying a jar at the store.  Even if it’s Rao’s, and you know how I swear by Rao’s.  Andie’s classic sauce is great atop a plate of spaghetti.  I’m sure it’s great with the meatballs she makes in her post too.  And I’ll even guarantee you can use this in your lasagna, baked zita, and any other casserole-esque concoction you can’t get enough of.  You can make a batch quickly and freeze it by the quart.  I just barely tweaked Andie’s recipe.

To make 4 cups of sauce, you will need:

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1, 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I always look for no salt added)
  • 1, 6 oz. can tomato paste (also look for no salt added here)
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  When it’s good and hot, add the onions and saute for about 7-8 minutes, until they’re starting to brown.  Add the garlic and saute for another couple of minutes.  Andie points out that the longer you let things sizzle here, the more flavor you’re going to develop.  Next add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste and stir till combined.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring things up to a simmer.  Turn the heat all the way down, till your flame is almost gone if you’re lucky enough to have a gas stove, and to the lowest setting if you’re like me.  Cook the sauce for 30 minutes, stirring the bottom occasionally so it doesn’t burn.  Use in your favorite dish or serve over a big bed of spaghetti.

3 thoughts on “On Staying for Dinner

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