Mushroom Tomato Sauce

One of my husband’s favorite foods is spaghetti with marinara sauce.  For him that always meant popping open a can of Ragu’s mushroom tomato sauce.  Needless to say, I’m not so into the canned stuff.  Here’s my homemade version of mushroom tomato sauce.  I make a large batch about twice a month and freeze individual servings in ziplock bags for easy dinners and lunches.

Here’s what you’ll need

1 8oz can of tomato paste.

1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes

1 large onion, diced

6 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 pound of crimini or button mushrooms, sliced

3 tablespoons red wine gastrique

1 large pinch greek oregeno

1 large pinch dried basil

3 sprigs of thyme (or a large pinch of dried)

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

In a hot oiled pan, add the onion.  Once the onion is translucent.

Add the tomato paste.  You want to saute the tomato paste until it is fragrant, this will really deepen the tomato flavor.  Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.

Add the garlic and mushrooms.  Stir until the mushrooms are well coated with the tomato paste and onions.

Add the spices

Add the can of whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, fill the empty can with water and add that as well.  Stir to combine.  Poke at the tomatoes to break them up in the sauce, I like a chunky sauce so I leave the chunks pretty large.

Bring this combination to a vigorous simmer, cover and lower the heat.

Make the gastrique by reducing 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar and 4 large tablespoons of sugar.  Once the mixture has reached a syrupy consistency add it to the tomato sauce.   This step will add the sweetness and brightness I really like in a tomato sauce.

I let the sauce simmer covered for about an hour, then I uncover it and let it simmer until it reaches the thick consistency I like, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Let cool completely and store a meals worth in freezer bags.  This will keep well in the freezer for several months (not that it ever lasts that long around here).

I've always enjoyed making a mess in the kitchen. As a small child I used to sneak into the kitchen to make "rabbit stew" (this consisted of emptying my mom's spices into a large pot of water. Yeah, I was a great kid.) These days I spend my time in the kitchen cobbling together "what-ever-the-heck-you've-got casserole", pushing ethnic-inspired food on my husband and occasionally being called upon to feed the in-laws. I hope you enjoy trying these recipes in your own kitchen. Make sure you let me know what you like! If you want to find me elsewhere on the web- well good luck with that! I'm a baby blogger- this is my first foray into blog land (so let me know how I'm doing!). In real life I can often be found lurking amongst the stacks at local bookstores and libraries sipping on diet pepsi.

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