Homemade Pasta Sauce!

Miss Phoebe's herbs are growing so much, it is certainly time to start harvesting them. I can't think of anything better than using the first big batch to make homemade pasta sauce. I owned an Italian Steakhouse thirty years ago and I used to make gallons of sauce on a daily basis! I'd like to tell you I have a standard recipe written down, but I don't. It is all in the deep chambers of my brain!

Thirty years ago in the rural Midwest, we didn't grow fresh herbs like we do today. I, however, did my best to get fresh basil, oregano and thyme for my red sauce. I had a 'jobber' who brought it back to me from the huge fresh market in St. Louis. Now, I grow it and freeze it all summer long, so I have it to use in the winter. Fresh herbs go in almost everything I cook from vegetables ... to soups and stews ... to the coating on large pieces of meat.
For this batch of sauce, I used fresh Rosemary, oregano, thyme and lots of basil.  Roughly chopped, I had 2 cups of herbs. I browned a pound of ground beef, added a chopped sweet onion, a chopped rib of celery and a medium sized green bell pepper ... also roughly chopped. While the meat browned and the vegetables and herbs softened, I added a Tablespoon of beef flavoring, a teaspoon of garlic paste and a few grinds of black peppercorns. You can add salt, if you'd like. I don't because I add salt to my canned tomatoes and I always think that is enough.

After the meat browns, I add a 28-ounce can of tomato puree and a 15-ounce can of tomato sauce. I also add a pint of home canned tomatoes.

I stir all this together, bring it just to a boil and immediately turn it down to a low simmer. I place the lid on my big heavy pot and let it simmer for an hour.

By the time this simmers that long, your family ... and sometimes the neighbors ... will be starving for pasta!

This batch of sauce will easily coat 3 meals of pasta, so you'll want to freeze part of it. When you are ready to use it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it on a low temperature.

This is a perfect sauce to use in layering lasagna, to pour over meatball sandwiches, to use as pizza sauce and to use as a dip for warm garlic bread sticks. You won't have any trouble figuring out how to use it all up!

My family loves sauteed mushrooms over their red sauce. I use button mushrooms or baby portabellas and start them over low heat in melted butter. Just as they are about as soft as I like them (after about 4 minutes), I turn the heat on high and stir the mushrooms until the butter browns and the mushrooms caramelize.

That is what makes them really good!

Add a little parmesan cheese and warm gooey cheesy garlic bread ... after a little green salad ... and you have a fantastic meal. Enjoy!

I'll be sharing this post with a few of the parties listed in my sidebar, but before you move on ... check out my home page for more posts.  Happy sauce making!

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