Al’s Spaghetti Sauce
FYI - If you make this recipe to save money and/or time - it will do neither. It will give you the satisfaction of making a great homemade product. Truly a labor of love.
2 - 28oz cans Dei Fratelli Chopped Italian Tomatoes
1 - 28oz can Dei Fratelli Diced Tomatoes
2 - 15oz cans Dei Fratelli Tomato Sauce
1 - 12oz can Everyday Essentials Tomato Paste
1 - Medium Sized fresh tomato (optional - had one on hand)
2 - Cups Cherry Tomatoes - halved (optional - had some on hand)
1 - Large (or 2 Medium) White Onion - diced
1 - 8oz package of Mushrooms - diced
2 to 3 - Medium sized Zucchinis
2 to 3 - Medium sized Yellow Squash
2 - Medium sized carrots - peeled and fine grated.
Minced garlic (you decide how much)
Penzey’s Dried Oregano
Fresh Thyme (stripped from stem)
Fresh Basil (several leaves fine chopped)
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 - lbs Ground Chuck.
The ingredients used above will fill a 7QT pot. Scale your batch accordingly. We freeze measured amounts of sauce in a container - enough for 3-4 servings.
Place a 7QT pot on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pot. Add carrot, 1/2 of diced onion, zucchini, squash, 1/3 of diced mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, & oregano. Stir.
Sauté until veggies are tender (about 5 - 10 minutes). You might have to add more EVOO during sauté time. Onions will start caramelize. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Add about a teaspoon of fresh thyme and tablespoon of fresh basil.
Add all tomato products and 1/3 of diced mushrooms to pot. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce to a texture of your liking. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a screen and stir often. The goal is to reduce the water content and concentrate the tomato mixture. This process will take 2 to 3 (or more) hours. Place a teaspoon of the sauce on a plate to see how much liquid spreads out from the edges. I don’t like much water in my sauce, so there’s very little. Season to taste with salt and pepper after it’s done reducing. Salting too much before reduction will also concentrate the salt. Add a sprinkle of dried oregano and more fresh thyme if you like. Stir
While tomato/veggie mixture is reducing, brown the ground chuck.
In another pan sauté the remaining diced onions, remaining diced mushrooms, and some garlic until soft. Salt & Pepper to taste.
Add ground chuck. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle of dried oregano. Break up and stir. Drain excess grease. If you are freezing the entire batch - allow to cool before adding to sauce. If you plan to use the sauce right away - add meat to sauce if it’s reduced to your liking.
Cool before freezer packaging. Fill sink with enough cold water ice to reach 1/2 up the sauce pot when placed into sink. Stir every few minutes.
Chili Con Carne
This is the style of chili that I grew up on. Rarely did we have the "soup-like with pasta" type chili. Peg prefers the "soup-like" chili so she uses my chili as a "concentrate" to create her type [see below]
My mom and I would take a spoonful of chili and place it on top of a Saltine. This is how I learned how to eat chili. It was nothing for me go thru at least an entire sleeve of crackers this way. I shudder at thought of this now. Good grief...
Also, as a kid, I picked out the beans because I didn't like them. Now I like them, but Peg picks them out for "preventative measures". Funny how things change...
Chili Con Carne
1 lb ground beef
2 cans of diced tomatoes (use fresh if you have 'em)
or 1 jar of Newman's Mild Salsa
1 diced medium onion
2 stalks diced celery
1 diced bell pepper (pick your favorite color or colors)
1 can of kidney beans (I prefer Joan of Arc)
1 - 2 teaspoons Penzey's Chili Con Carne spice blend (start small, you can always add if needed)
1 - 2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
(Lea & Perrins brand is gluten-free, many brands are not)
Salt to taste
V8 or tomato juice
GF Beer (optional)
A few ounces of shredded cheese (garnish)
1 - 2 Green onions (garnish)
1 fresh diced tomato (garnish)
Add peppers, celery and onions to pan, add pinch of salt and Penzey's Chili Con Carne spice mix
Saute' until slightly soft.
Add ground beef and brown on med-high heat. Remove any excess grease.
Drain and add beans - stir
Add canned tomatoes or salsa - stir
Add 1 - 2 cups of liquid (V8/Tomato Juice/GF Beer) - stir
Add Worcestershire sauce - stir
Allow chili to come to a good bubble and reduce heat to simmer.
Salt & season to taste
Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. If chili becomes too thick - add more liquid of choice.
Soup-like Chili with Pasta Note: Gluten pasta requires you to be be mindful of cross contamination risks.
Make your favorite pasta and set aside.
Place several scoops of Chili Con Carne into a larger pan on low heat
Add 16 - 24 oz of V8/Tomato Juice
Add cooked pasta
Simmer until heated
Salt & season to taste
You might need to re-season this chili depending on how hot you like it. I tend to like my chili spicier than Peg, so when she adds the liquid and the pasta - it's about right for her tastes.
If you are using canned tomatoes, they are going to be sweeter and less spicy than salsa. You'll need to adjust amount of chili seasoning depending on the tomato product used. Taste as you go...
Until the next good eats...