This is a great make-ahead recipe for busy families. It freezes really well and tastes great with or without meat! Have it with your favorite pasta noodles or penne along with some garlic bread and you’ve got a delicious meal in minutes!
Serves: Approx. 4-5 Cups
- 1 T Olive oil
- 1 Medium White Onion
- 4 Celery Stalks
- 4 Medium Carrots, peeled
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 5 Whole Black peppercorns
- 1 T dried Oregano
- 5 Fresh Thyme springs
- 2 Cups Chicken or Veg Stock or Water
- 1 Large Can (28oz) of whole, peeled tomatoes
- Salt & Fresh ground pepper
Garniture (Try to use fresh herbs if you can, it definitely adds more flavor and aroma)
- Italian parsley
- Parmesan cheese
1. Get a soup pot or a container large enough to hold all the ingredients. Turn on the heat to lowest temperature possible.
2. While your pot is heating up slowly, roughly chopping vegetables but make sure they are uniform in size so that they cook evenly. Crush the garlic cloves.
3. Add some olive oil to the pot and increase the heat to Medium, now add all the ingredients from step 2 + pepper corns, oregano and thyme. Cook until fragrant, stir to combine everything.
4. Add stock of your choice (chicken/veg/beef or even water will work). Crush the tomatoes with your hands or the back of your ladle before adding them. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil on Med-High heat and then decrease the heat to low and cover and cook for 1.5 hrs or until all the ingredients have cooked through. You should be able to easily mash the veggies with your ladle. Optional – you may add handful of basil at this point before blending.
5. Carefully place the mixture in batches into your blender (you may want to cool the mixture, depending on the blender) and blend it to the consistency you like, chunky, smooth, etc. I personally like the smooth consistency.
6. I highly suggest seasoning the sauce as you need it and freeze the rest with a basic label such as this: Name, Date, “Needs salt and seasoning”, “Defrost in fridge” and any other information you wish to add.
7. When ready to serve, garnish the sauce with parsley or basil (or both) and fresh parmesan cheese. You can also stir in some parmesan cheese when you heat up the sauce.
1. Experiment – I can truly understand how challenging it is getting kids to eat vegetables. My nephew had no clue that he was having the horrific vegetable aka broccoli via this pasta sauce! I added 1 cup of broccoli in step 3 of the process, try adding vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms etc. This will change the taste a little bit so, start with a hand full and see how that turns out and gradually increase if no one notices, shh!
2. Cream – Add light or heavy cream to give the pasta a creamier texture, which works beautifully with seafood like shrimps or a delicate fish like tilapia or flounder.
3. Hot – For those of you who love a little kick, try adding chili flakes or fresh jalapenos! Rule of thumb, add the spices in less quantity than you usually would and taste the sauce until it reaches the heat level you like.