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I don't know about you, but I feel like fresh is always better. I try to keep my family away from preservatives whenever possible, and making it myself gives me control of the ingredients. I have a picky family and being able to leave something out or add a little more of something makes my life so much easier. My guess is you've never made pasta sauce yourself because you thought it would be too time consuming. I'm going to tell you straight out - it not.
1. Start with the Oil
Cover the bottom of the sauce pan with the olive oil and heat until hot (you may see small bubbles). Then turn the burner down to medium heat and add the minced garlic. Brown the garlic, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the Meat
If you are making a meat sauce, then add the ground meat and brown. You can also use a few strips of bacon to flavor the sauce. Do this by chopping the bacon finely and brown. Meatballs, chicken, and anything else should be mostly to full cooked before being placed in the pan.
3. Time for the Tomatoes
Now add the tomato puree to the pot. If you plan on adding tomato paste, add this now as well. Stir well.
4. Season It
Place the basil, black pepper, and salt into the tomato puree. Use the measurements as a starting place and season the puree to taste. Optional: Add garlic powder and cumin for a little extra flavor. Stir again.
5. Let It Simmer
Turn the sauce to medium heat and let it bubble a little (not quite a boil). Then turn down to low heat and cover. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Tips and Tricks
If your sauce is a bit acidy, you can add a bit of grated carrot to help balance it out. You'll have to do this during the cooking process so be sure to taste it along the way.
Want to give your sauce a little zing? Pour in a little red wine for a full-bodied, slightly sweet flavor.
I always cook my sauce the day before, so that it has time to rest. The next day, I reheat it on the stove and it has an even better flavor than the day it was made.
Bake some Italian bread and if you're feeling really ambitious, make your own pasta. My favorite? Ravioli!!
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