Red Pasta Sauce
1 medium to large onion (sweet onion or spanish onion)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 whole carrots, chopped
1 red or green pepper, seeds removed, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 or 2 packages button or baby bella mushrooms (8 oz pkgs.)
Swirl about 2 -3 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a large pot. Turn heat to medium high. Toss in all the veggies as you chop them (going in order as I have them listed.)**. Saute the veggies for 5 -8 minutes.
** If you are going to use meat in the sauce, you would add it in with just the onion, then after the meat browns (and you break it up/crumble using a wooden spatula), add the rest of the veggies.
Add 2 large cans (28oz) or bottles of tomato sauce (not Prego or pre-prepared spaghetti sauce, just plain tomato sauce) - shouldn't be anything in the ingredient list but tomatoes/tomato paste and maybe salt, citric acid. You might see sugar as an ingredient, but try to find one that doesn't have sugar.
Add 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz). or diced tomatoes. Again, tomatoes the only ingredient.
Depending on how this fills up your pot, you might choose to add more or less tomato product. Next, add seasonings:
1 tsp. salt (you can always add more later)
1/2 teasp. pepper
1 pinch or two of red pepper flake -- in a pot this big, it doesn't add heat, it just brings out the flavor of everything more
1 TBSP. dried Italian seasoning or you can use fresh herbs, a handful of basil, chopped, small bunch of oregano, chopped, 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1-2 teasp. granulated garlic
1/2 teasp. thyme
I tinker with seasonings a lot - you can too - add what you like. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat to a medium, medium-low. Simmer for between 40 minutes and one hour. If you like a chunky sauce, leave as-is. If you prefer a smooth sauce, use a hand held mixer and puree the sauce... If you don't have a hand held mixer, remove batches from the pot and put it in a blender till smooth.
Cook your favorite whole wheat pasta to package directions, drain, add the sauce. Sprinkle lightly with fresh Parmesan if you wish, and then ENJOY!
Whatever sauce you don't use, portion it out in dinner size portions for you or you & your family, put it in freezable containers, and then you'll have a quick easy meal any night (just defrost the sauce and cook up some pasta. Your own homemade "frozen" dinner.) The sauce will keep in the freezer for several months. (I do not recommend freezing pasta and sauce together.)