Using What You Have or Pasta Sauce

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
As I mentioned in a previous post I have been on a health journey. A huge part of that has been eliminating sugar. Just an FYI sugar is highly addictive. It took me a good month to get off the sugar. It was like I had a month full of the worst PMS imaginable and all I wanted was to shove sugar in my mouth by the handful. Once you get past that it gets easier. The lure of sugar is never quite gone, but it abates. I do get a couple of squares of dark chocolate each night. I should probably save it for when I want a treat, but it stops me from feeling like I'm deprived.

Do you know what sugar is in? EVERYTHING. Seriously. Stop and read the labels and chances are there is sugar in it. I managed to find a jar of pasta sauce that didn't have sugar, but then I couldn't find it again. So, I made my own.

Pasta sauce is surprisingly easy to make. It does take a little time to simmer but once you have everything in the pot you can pretty much walk away from it for awhile. I was actually short on food options and making pasta sauce meant my past wasn't naked. I had everything on hand, mainly because there were a couple of other things I was going to make and then I stopped cooking for a few months, so I've been trying to use up what is in the pantry.

As I mentioned in my recipe about kale, I'm pretty laissez faire when it comes to cooking. I often swap out ingredients or kind of toss things in the pot. Use recipes as a guideline. If you don't like red peppers then make your sauce without peppers.  You do you boo.

My pasta

Ingredients

1 28oz can of tomatoes. I prefer the organic ones. The tomatoes just taste so much better.
5 cloves of garlic. I know that sounds like a lot but it's not. Just put in all the garlic and it will be awesome.
2 roasted red peppers. It's actually super easy to roast peppers*, but I had a jar of them on hand and I'm trying to clean out my cupboards so I used those.
1/2 an onion. I used a red onion but use whatever onion you like.
Italian herb seasoning mix
Red pepper flakes
olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil into a small pot over medium to low heat. Let your pan get nice and toasty. While that's going on dice half an onion. If it's a small onion then chop up the whole thing. Toss that in your pot. Mince all that delicious garlic and toss that into the pot. You want to cook that until the onion starts to look translucent.

Dice your red peppers and throw them in the pot. Dump the whole can of tomatoes into the pot. Toss about a tablespoon of Italian herbs in with everything else. If you don't have an Italian herb mix then throw in some basil, marjoram, rosemary and thyme. If you don't have all those herbs then toss in what you have. Then add a dash of red pepper flakes.

Bring that up to a boil, or that point where pasta sauce starts getting splashed all over. Then turn it down to a very low simmer. You just want to occasionally see a little bubble wanting to form. Walk away for about twenty minutes, come back and stir, then do that again and one more time. It should simmer for about an hour.

Finally you want to get it all smooth and sassy. I have one of these hand blenders, which are great because you don't have to wait for the food to cool. You just stick it in, turn it on and swirl it around a bit. If you don't have a hand blender, then you need to use a regular blender. You have to let the pasta sauce cool down. This is super important because if you don't do this you can make things explode. Once your sauce has cooled down, fill your blender about half way full and puree. You might need to do a couple of batches.

Granted there are a few steps to make your own pasta sauce, but it's not that time consuming. I topped some Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi with this and it was delicious.

If during the summer months you go to the farmers market then pick up some extra tomatoes and freeze them. Take off the stems, wash them up and throw them in a bag in the fridge to freeze. Then when you are ready to use them, you dunk them in hot water and peel off the skin.

*Roasting a red pepper is kind of like roasting marshmallows over your stove top. I use a pair of metal tongs and hold them over the flame. You want the skin on the pepper to blacken. As each part blackens, I keep turning it until the whole thing is black. Let it cool down for a minute and then using a paper towel you'll wrap up the pepper and start rubbing off the skin. Keep in mind the outside might be cool, but the inside will be steamy. Carefully cut it open and scoop out the insides. Voila a roasted pepper and your house smells delightfully like a bonfire.

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