A simple but rich recipe for a delicious family dinner… And a good way to use those leftover ingredients in your fridge!
Like every other cook out there, I too have a favorite tomato sauce recipe that often saves the day, especially when I get back home only to realize I’ve forgotten to make a stop at the grocery store! And that’s because you don’t need much to create your masterpiece, except for some seasonal ripe tomatoes, an onion, a clove of garlic and some olive oil… Oh and a pinch of sugar!
Today’s recipe goes a little further and utilizes every ingredient you have in your kitchen in order to achieve a hearty, filling and comforting dish! Plus, it will help you use all of these leftovers you may have and don’t know what to do or you‘re afraid they’ll go bad!
Sure, I’ve also posted this spaghetti with simple tomato and bacon sauce, but why not have one more recipe in your arsenal?
I and my friends made this recipe quite often when we were in college! Since it requires cheap ingredients or things you already have and can feed a lot of people, it is perfect for students and everyone who’s on a budget! And I can’t remember anyone complaining at the table! Everyone was more than happy with a plateful of pasta in front of him!
I would dare to say that the philosophy behind this dish is similar to the famous Italian soup, minestrone, where you use a variety of ingredients like vegetables, stock, pasta, and beans. For the flavors to bind together and mature, it is best to gently simmer the sauce for at least 20-30 minutes, checking it every now and then to see if it needs a splash of water.
The anchovies will not cause the sauce to taste like fish! It’s like using a tablespoon of Chinese fish or oyster sauce to intensify the taste and the umami flavor!
You can omit any of the ingredients if you don’t have it or don’t like its taste.
Other ingredients you can add: olives, bacon, sausage, leeks, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, capers, paprika, star anise, basil, tarragon, wine, stock, cooked chicken or other meat, even legumes! If you like its taste, put it in!
The basic steps:
- First, sauté the vegetables with the meat and the olive oil until all vegetables are tender.
- Then deglaze with wine, water or stock.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and the spices/herbs and let the sauce simmer for 20-30 minutes or until thickened.
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- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices ham, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves (whole or chopped)
- 2 anchovies
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ cup white wine, stock (or water plus 1 bouillon)
- 12 oz (800 grams) crushed tomatoes, fresh or canned (I puree them)
- 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon brown or white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- Optional: grated cheese for serving
- Heat a large and tall pot over medium heat and add the olive oil, ham, onion, garlic, anchovies, carrot and bell peppers.
- Cook until tender and deglaze with wine or stock.
- Add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
- Cook uncovered for at least 20-30 minutes, checking it every now and then to see if it needs a splash of water.
- Mix the tomato sauce with the pasta of your choice.
- Serve with grated cheese (parmesan or feta cheese are good options)
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