Spaghetti with red sauce, easy and light is what I prepared for The Crazy Cooking Challenge this month. This was a fun challenge for one who grew up in an Italian/American family when we would have spaghetti/macaroni with gravy sauce at least twice a week back in the day.
I’m guessing some might think making a spaghetti sauce is complicated and takes too long to prepare and cook, and today, who has the time to spend prepping a recipe and cooking it for hours. I also thought about how many are trying to limit the carbs in our diets which would certainly eliminate the spaghetti sauce recipes. Just a thought . . .
Here is good news for cooks who like easy and quick recipes – like me. My spaghetti sauce recipe is easy to prepare, light and still made in the same traditional Italian style of my grandmother and mother.
Our family recipe for Sunday Gravy spaghetti sauce uses only garlic, OR only onion – never both – in a pot of gravy sauce. I use red wine, which I only started adding in the last 10 years. Grandma and mom didn’t use grandpa’s homemade wine which is what our family drank. Back in the day when I was growing up buying wine was unheard of since many Italian families had their own winemaker.
Now my tomato sauce recipe is a marinara sauce, which only means it has no meat in it. In our family, a marinara sauce is light and is not cooked too long (it’s cooked only long enough for the tomatoes to break down and the flavors to come together).
Or, for those who would like to add meat, it’s really simple:
- add 1 pound of ground beef, pork or veal to the shallots and using a wooden spoon break up the meat a little and cook until a pink (approx. 3-5 min.)
- pour out the excess fat
- then add the tomatoes and continue on with the recipe making sure the sauce simmers gently so the meat doesn’t get tough.
The added meat will make this a bolognese style sauce.
Marinara Sauce - Easy and Light
- 2 TBLS. olive oil
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 1/2 tsp. sugar or 1/2 of a very small carrot peeled
- 1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 28 oz. San Marzano peeled tomatoes
- 1 14 oz. tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup dry red wine (chianti or merlot - optional)
- 1 TBLS. chopped fresh basil leaves or dry basil if fresh is unavailable
- 2 TBLS. chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. spaghetti cooked according to package (I used Dreamfields spaghetti)
- In large saucepot heat olive oil and saute the chopped shallots until translucent (approx. 3-5 minutes), then add in the sugar and red pepper flakes if using. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
- Add in the can of San Marzano tomatoes and using a potato masher crush the tomatoes which makes a chunky tomato sauce. If you don’t like a chunky sauce, put the canned tomatoes* in a blender first and then add to the pot. *(Using the peeled tomatoes makes the sauce lighter than if you use only tomato sauce.) Add in the 14 oz. can of tomato sauce and if you choose to use the carrot add that now as well.
- Cook the sauce on a low-medium heat to simmer for about 35 minutes then add ¼ cup red wine and simmer another 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions and place in individual dishes adding sauce over the spaghetti.
Sprinkle grated or shaved Locatelli or Romano cheese over the spaghetti, this is optional.
With this easy recipe you can save money and never buy sauce in the jar again. If you double the recipe you can freeze the sauce in appropriate size containers for at least two or three more meals. This will save you LOTS of time and money. Cook once, eat twice or even three times.
I used the last of the leftover sauce on my homemade pizza. Another easy recipe coming soon and the kids can help. Follow me to be sure you don’t miss the recipes.