Sunday Project: Make Your Own Pasta Sauce

January 20, 2012

By Lana Buseman

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One of my favorite meals in the world is spaghetti with red sauce. It is one of my ultimate comfort foods and brings me back to when my grandma would make everything for this meal homemade, including the pasta.

Making your own sauce is a great project for a chilly Sunday morning when you want to throw something in the Crock-pot and let it cook all day until you are ready to eat it.  We always make a really big batch, and then freeze it in individual containers that we can easily defrost for a quick weeknight meal.

For this recipe, you need two 28-ounce cans of tomato puree, one small can of tomato paste, one head of chopped garlic, one sliced onion, four to five carrots, fresh or dried herbs and one pound of stewing beef. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, which is an excellent antioxidant that is positively correlated with general good health and may have anti-cancer properties. Because the concentration of lycopene actually increasing upon cooking, tomato sauce is a great source of the antioxidant.

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If you look on the label for most premade pasta sauces, or even old family sauce recipes, you will usually find sugar as one of the ingredients. My grandma always used to put carrots in her sauce, and I find the combination of carrots and tomatoes provide enough sweetness that you don’t need to add sugar.

The way any traditional tomato sauce starts out is by sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil. What I like to do is brown the meat in a pan first, and then cook the onions and garlic in that same pan after the meat. You will want to cut the beef into about one-inch cubes and then brown it in a pan until all sides of the meat are caramelized. When they are finished browning, put the meat in the Crock-pot and pour the tomato puree and paste over the top.

Once the onions and garlic have been sautéed, put those in the Crock-pot as well.

Slice your carrots into ½ inch chunks and throw those in the Crock-pot. Then add your herbs. If you are using fresh herbs, you will want to triple the amount you would use in comparison to dried herbs.  Stir the Crock-pot ingredients up and place the lid on top. Cook for 6-8 hours on low and serve with your favorite pasta later that night!

Plus! Here is another great recipe that uses this lycopene rich fruit as its main ingredient!