Best Spaghetti Sauce

As “common” as spaghetti bolognese is, there is an art to making the sauce stand out. This is not about using the freshest ingredients, it’s about cooking the onions well, not being afraid to add sugar and tasting it frequently along the way.

Bolognese Sauce (though meat is optional)

Olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
2 carrots
1 large zucchini
1 pepper (red and/or green)
10 mushrooms
1 lb ground beef (optional)
1 1/2 large tins whole tomatoes (must be WHOLE, not crushed which is much thicker)
3/4 of a small tin crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce  (which will be much thicker than the whole tomatoes)
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp oregano
8 fresh basil leaves (cut into thin strips)
1 tsp table sugar (but you may need a bit more)
Salt and pepper (don’t skimp on either of these!)
Water (only if necessary to thin it down if gets  a bit thick when cooking)

Heat olive oil in a LARGE pan (if the pan is too small, the vegs won’t brown, they will just steam).  Slice garlic, dice onion carrots, zucchini, peppers and mushrooms.  Sautee all vegs until the onion is slightly caremelized and the veggies are somewhat cooked.Push vegs to one side of pan and add the beef to the empty side and brown the beef.  Once brown, mix it all together.  Add the whole tomatoes and break the tomatoes into small pieces (use your hands or a knife and fork in the pan but careful not to cut bottom of pan!)  Add the crushed tomatoes/tomato sauce (if you feel you need the whole tin, add it all, but you don’t want there to be too much, else I find it’s too thick and it starts to taste like canned pasta sauce.)  Add the hot pepper flakes, oregano, fresh basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Now taste it!! (This is key — if you feel the acid from the tomatoes is still intense, add a bit more sugar. If it tastes a bit bland, add more salt and/or spice.)  Simmer for about 30 mins with lid on. If it gets too thick, add a little water. After 30 mins taste again!!  And make adjustments.  Then turn off burner and let it sit for another 30 mins. (Though if you don’t have time, you can eat it after the 30 mins of simmering.)

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