Charlie and I met in grade schools and were friends early on. We dated in high school and on Sundays I would eat dinner at his house. After he graduated and before we were married, he moved because of a job opportunity to Maryland. On Wednesdays I would go over to his house and have dinner with his parents. I would watch his Mother cook and we would talk. It was a very special time for me. She was warm and loving and I felt very comfortable going there and, little did I know, I was getting private cooking lessons.
- 3 28 Oz Cans San Marzano Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 Large Onion – chopped (softball size)
- 3 Garlic Cloves – peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp Salt – or to taste
- 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper – or to taste
- 1/4 Cup Romano Cheese – grated (or one good cheese rind)
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 4 – 5 Basil leaves – Large
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1/8 – 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- Heat olive oil in a large pot, add onion and sauté over medium heat.
- When onions being to get soft, add garlic and stir. Do not let the garlic brown or burn as it will taste bitter.
- When garlic is just starting to color add tomatoes and stir well making sure you get down to the bottom of the pot. Slowly bring to a good simmer.
- If you have not used San Marzano tomatoes and the spaghetti sauce looks a little pale you can, at this point, add 2 heaping teaspoons of tomato paste. Stir well and then add all the seasonings.
- After 5 minutes adjust the heat to low and cover and cook for one hour.
- Stir occasionally and never let the sauce come to a boil.
- If you are adding meatballs and other meat, add after the sauce has cooked for about 30 minutes.
- After you have browned the meatballs (I brown in the oven/broiler) save a good portion of the drippings, add to the sauce and stir in well. This is where you will get most of your flavor. Sauce is better when cooked early in the day or the night before.
Pieces of pork, country style spareribs and Italian sausage are good meats to add and enrich the flavor. I cook these in the oven before adding, along with a little of the accumulated juices. Chicken can be added, although it will give the sauce an entirely different flavor. If making a sauce using only chicken parts, brown 6 slices of chop Pancetta in with the onions and garlic. this will intensify the flavor a little.
This is the basis for the spaghetti sauce I learned by watching my Mother-in-law. There were usually pork pieces in with the meatballs. Of course, over the years, it has probably changed a little as I accommodate my family. What I learned was a sauce for 4 and often times I find that I am making sauce for 25 for a family gathering.