Homemade Pasta Sauce

January 04, 2014

Homemade Pasta Sauce takes time.  You want to give the ingredients time to marry and be happy with one another.  Let that red wine sink in with all those herbs and tomatoes.  Do yourself a favor and make a double batch.  Can it or freeze it and you can have a delicious cooked meal any night of the week.  If you grow tomatoes, then you know, no matter how many plants you have you always end up with a bazillion tomatoes and run out of things to do with them.  So why not make sauce?  Both my mom and dad are great cooks, I learned from the best.  This is an original recipe that I learned from them, of course with a few of my own tweaks!  It was one of the first recipes I tested for my Shonal's Kitchen Cookbook and is a constant favorite amongst friends and family.

Using fresh ingredients is always key.  I don't always have fresh tomatoes, but when I do I use them.  If I don't, then canned tomato sauce or puree is ok to use too.  For fresh tomatoes, you want to blanch them to remove the skins, cut and de-seed them and then puree them.  Seems like a lot of work, but its worth it when you taste the sauce. Onions, garlic, fresh flat leaf parsley and basil are all must-haves.  

Start with sauteeing the onions in olive oil until translucent, about 3 minutes or so. Then add your garlic and mushrooms and saute together for another 3-4 minutes. You don't want to burn the garlic.

Next, seasoning.  SplenDishes Super Tuscan Blend is the key spice for this sauce.  It has tomato powder it in, which will make the sauce rich and thick.  Packed with Italian herbs and a few other goodies, this will give your sauce the depth your looking for.

Enter tomato paste.  Tomato paste is basically condensed tomatoes.  It's what is going to bind everything together.  About a tablespoon works, stir that in and combine with the onions and garlic.

Red Wine.  Ahhhh red wine.....deglaze the pan with some nice dry red wine.  Scrape up all those bits of the bottom of the pan and let it reduce for a few minutes.  I use about a cup, but it never hurt to put a little more.  Don't forget to save some for the chef :)

I saved some for the chef....what, you can't be cooking with wine and not have a glass for yourself!  It wouldn't be fair to the food your cooking :)

Stir in the tomato puree and about a cup of stock.  Remember this needs to simmer for awhile, so you need some extra liquid to cook down.  Any kind of stock works, if you're keeping it vegetarian, use vegetable stock.  I like to use beef stock because it adds to the richness of the sauce.  I also wait to put any meat, such as italian sausage in because I don't like to can stuff with meat in it.  So all I do is brown the sausage and add it later (plus for this dinner, I made turkey meatballs).

Ok, so at this point, season with some SplenDishes House Blend, lower the heat to a simmer, put the lid on and let it do its thing for about an hour to an hour and a half. Check it periodically to make sure the heat isnt on too high and give it a stir and a taste.

The sauce has now simmered for at least an hour and your more than ready to eat. I've got the meatballs in simmering and have sprinkled in some fresh parsley and basil.  Don't add the fresh herbs until the very end.  They lose their purpose and flavor if you put them in the beginning.  I hope you have your pasta boiling.....

Spoon that luscious sauce over al dente pasta, sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan cheese and top it all off with fresh sliced basil.  Delizioso!




Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 1 1/2 Hours Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4


1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

6 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon SplenDishes Super Tuscan Blend

1/2 teaspoon SplenDishes House Blend

1 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups tomato puree

1 cup stock

3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons basil, chopped PLUS extra for garnish

Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese for garnish


Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook another 3 minutes. 

Stir in Super Tuscan Blend and red wine.  Let wine reduce to about half, about 4 minutes.

Stir in tomato puree and stock until combined.

Season with House Blend, cover with lid and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half.

Spoon sauce over al dente pasta, sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a sprig of basil.

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