Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Spaghetti Sauce

One of the culinary difficulties I have is that my husband does not enjoy any food that includes melted cheese. No pizza, no lasagna, no alfredo, no mac and cheese... Most people find that really strange, and I suppose it is, especially living in North America, but we've been together for over ten years now, and I guess I've just learned to improvise.

A few years ago, I came up with this spaghetti sauce. It's probably our favourite way of eating spaghetti. It includes big, chunky vegetables, a bit of spice, and, much to my hubby's delight, bacon. It's tasty enough to eat without cheese, which works perfectly for us. If you don't want to use bacon, I am of the opinion that you could use porcini mushrooms or some other ingredient with a smokey taste with a meaty texture, but that's entirely up to you.

Serves 4

  • 7 or 8 strips of bacon, or thinly sliced pancetta, cut into 1 cm or 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 button (white) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped into big, chunky pieces, or whatever size you prefer (I buy red peppers on sale and chop them and freeze them for later)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil, or 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 a can of plum tomatoes (796mL or 28 fl. oz.)
  • a pinch or two of dried chillies (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp of honey or sugar
  • 1 basil leaf
  • pepper to taste
1) Heat a large frying pan or dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook until browned, stirring to brown all sides. Drain any excess fat (there will be a bit more coming out of the bacon as you cook).
2) Add the onion and saute until the onion begins to soften.
3) Add the mushrooms, peppers and garlic and continue to saute until the peppers begin to soften.
4) Add the crushed fennel and basil and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
5) Add the plum tomatoes and some of the juice, as well as 1/4 can of water. Crush the tomatoes into pieces (I use a potato masher).
6) Add the crushed chillies, sugar, bay leaf and pepper. Allow to simmer for about 25 minutes, or until most of the liquid had reduced. Serve immediately on spaghetti.

I'm afraid I didn't take a photo of a nicely framed plate this evening when I made this sauce. I did, however, manage to take a photo of the leftovers that will make up my lunch for the next two days.

If you were to use porcini mushrooms instead of bacon, I would use a tbsp of olive oil to cook the onions first, and then follow the recipe as written and add the porcini mushrooms at the same time as the button mushroom and peppers. I haven't tried it, but I think it would work.


1 comment:

YarnKettle said...

That looks very hearty! I may need to try that but I warn you I am not a sauce cook. I always wimp out and just open a jar to heat. This makes D a little sad, he has mentioned a couple of times how his Mom made great spaghetti sauce.
I have a friend whose husband does not eat cheese either. Do not feel alone, but every once in a while she feels the need to bring mac and cheese to knitting.