In the midst of all the holiday preparations, I forgot to continue the lasagna saga. So much to do, so much to do!
Please bear with me as you follow along. The ingredient picture is not complete as I tend to remember ingredients as I go along. The necessary items for my sauce are:
2 – 3 tbs. Olive Oil
Fresh ground black pepper
2 (28oz) cans of Whole Tomatoes (no salt added is best to control your salt levels) or Pureed Tomatoes. (Use whole tomatoes if you have an immersion blender.)
1 (28oz) can of Crushed Tomatoes
2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste (I have a great tip for saving the rest of the can!)
2 diced onions (I used medium/large onions here.)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
½ teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Oregano, Thyme, Basil
1 cup of chopped mushrooms (optional)
Heat the oil and sauté the onions, sprinkling in about a teaspoon of salt. For most sauces, I would also add chopped peppers, but for I forgot. I also forgot to add the chopped mushrooms here, eventually adding them at the end.
Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté for another 2 – 3 minutes.
Stir in the cans of whole tomatoes and simmer. When the tomatoes soften, use an immersion blender to break them up.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, substitute 2 cans of Pureed Tomatoes. Once blended, add Crushed Tomatoes and Tomato Paste.
TIP: How often are we left with an unfinished can of tomato paste that often goes to waste? It used to happen to me all the time until I got this neat tip from Sunny Anderson on the Food Network. Place the unused portion of your tomato paste into a zip-lock freezer bag and freeze it. Now, all you have to do is break off what you need for future recipes. Pretty cool, huh?
Crack some black pepper into the sauce and stir. Give it a taste and add salt if needed.
I love that I started a potted herb garden this past summer as it gives me a near endless supply of fresh herbs, a big money saver. When fall came, I brought the pots inside, keeping them well watered and near sunlight. For this recipe, I used thyme, oregano (both Greek and Italian — personally, I prefer Greek oregano), and basil. After peeling the leaves off the thyme and oregano, chop and add to the sauce.
Next, roll the basil leaves into a small log and slice before adding to the sauce.
Let the sauce simmer for about an hour and taste. Make adjustments to the seasoning as needed. This is where I added the roasted garlic. I love my garlic!!!