did you know...
It was an easy tomato based sauce, without perishable ingredients such as meats or dairy. Quick to put together, with ingredients they could keep on hand. Simple and delicious!
Here's two versions for you - one that's super simple and one that's a little more complex, a delicious way to sneak some extra veggies in, even for the picky eaters and kids.
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ TBS fennel seeds
pinch red pepper flakes
bay leaf (optional)
2 cups wine, red or white is fine
2 cups canned tomatoes
lemon juice to taste (1-2 lemons)
Sweat out the onions until they are translucent. Salt and pepper. Add the garlic; cook until fragrant. Add in the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, bay leaf. Deglaze with the wine. Add in the tomatoes. Simmer atleast 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and puree. Stir in the parsley, basil and lemon juice, to taste. Adjust seasonings: salt and pepper, lemon juice; salt again.
Top your favorite pasta, vegetable or meat dishes. Garnish with extra basil and parmesan.
For Anyone Who Has Taken My Knife Skills Class...
The Secret Sauce
3 TBS butter or olive oil
3 onions, chopped
6-9 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TBS fennel seeds
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 bulb fennel, cored and chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
Optional: 4 cups white or red wine, or chicken broth
28 oz canned tomatoes
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch basil, chiffonade
Optional add-ons: sliced mushrooms, caramelized onions, pan-seared sliced tri-color peppers, chopped rosemary, sliced shallots, grated parm
In a large saucepan heat up the oil and sweat out the onions over a medium-high heat. You may need to adjust the heat as it cooks. Once translucent, add in the garlic, fennel, red pepper flakes and cinnamon. After this becomes fragrant, ~2-3 minutes, add in the carrots. Cook until they start to become tender, around 7 minutes, and add in the celery and zucchini. Salt and pepper each of the layers as it cooks to develop the flavors.
Deglaze the pan with wine after an additional 5-10 minutes, once everything becomes tender. Scrape the delicious browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan back into the sauce, using a wooden spoon. Add in the tomatoes.
Prepare your additional vegetables, cheese, etc. I use this sauce as a “catch-all” for when I clean out my refrigerator. It’s also a great place to sneak extra veggies in, since the sauce portion will be pureed. If any are going to go into the puree, add them in now.
Let the sauce cook for an additional 20-30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Remove the bay leaf. Puree in batches or using an immersion blender. The parsley and basil, plus some lemon juice can be added before or after this step. *Reminder: hot liquids seem to EXPLODE in the blender. To take care, fill the blender only halfway full, put a dishrag over the lid and do in batches.
Season again after pureeing, salt, pepper and lemon juice, as needed.
Toss with your favorite pasta and add-ons, use as a base for a soup (I always make a huge batch and freeze some for this purpose), sauce for bread, lasagna, vegetable terrine… I like to cook some Italian sausage and peppers into it too… The enjoyment possibilities are endless!