Hye Thyme Cafe: Spaghetti Sauce

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce : Hye Thyme Cafe

I get a chuckle out of how people seem to think about my Spaghetti Sauce for a while. Whenever there is a dinner or event where I'm using Spaghetti Sauce, it goes something like this.
"I really like that sauce.  Did you make that?"
"Yes I did, thank you."  :)

An hour or two later ...
"I noticed there was something spicy in your sauce. What was that?"
"Just a little cayenne."
"Reallllllly? That was so good."
"Great, thanks."  :)

As they're leaving ...
"Do you think I could get a copy of your recipe?"
"Of course!"

I think it's because most people who make their own red sauce make a lighter sauce starting from whole tomatoes rather than this rich, thick sauce. When it comes to "spaghetti sauce," I get the impression that most people reach for a jar or a can and call it a day. I usually make it in big batches and freeze most of it. If you've got room in  your freezer and a few hours to spare, this is definitely worth the (minimal) effort! Sometimes I'll throw in some browned ground beef, but I usually don't because I don't know what I'll be using it with down the road.   

It couldn't be any easier, and there's not actually a whole lotta stuff in it, but this is one of those recipes where the nice fresh loaf of Italian bread you picked up to go with dinner keeps staring at you from across the room, beckoning you to tear off a little piece just to dunk it in the sauce to "test" if it's ready yet. Uh huh... better pick up two loaves!  ;-)

4 (29 oz) cans of Hunt's Tomato Sauce
2 (28 oz) cans Pastene Ground Peeled Tomatoes 
2-3 T olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic (fresh or jarred with red peppers)
2 lg onions, small dice
2 t sugar
1-2 T tomato paste
salt and pepper
2 T Italian seasoning
1 t dried sweet basil
1/4 t cayenne pepper 
   (might want to reduce if using the garlic with red peppers)
1/3 c freshly grated Parmesan 
   (the good stuff this time, not the shaker kind)

Saute the garlic and onion until the onions are translucent. Add everything but the Parmesan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Stir in the Parmesan toward the end. See, there's nothing to it. You just need a few hours to wait for it to cook down. I suppose you could just make it in the Crock Pot.

TIP:  If you don't have recycling in your area and don't want all of those cans filling up your trash, give them a quick rinse, then remove the bottoms and squish them on your counter. Then just slip the lids inside one of the empties so nobody cuts themselves if they push down on the trash.

If I'm making it a Meat Sauce, I'll brown the meat separately until there is just a little pink left, then transfer it to the pot with a slotted spoon to leave any grease behind. I want it to be cooked enough to be crumbled when it goes into the sauce, but because it will continue to cook, it doesn't need to be completely browned. I just don't want to end up with meatballs ... those I make separately.  ;)

Spaghetti Sauce : Hye Thyme Cafe

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