Home > Uncategorized > The Spaghetti Sauce Situation

The Spaghetti Sauce Situation

So, if you were with me the other day, you are in on my grand plan to sneak Jamie Oliver’s eight veggie tomato sauce into my family’s dinner tonight.  I started cooking early, because it is my strongly-held belief that you just can’t make a sauce in an hour.  It must simmer, my friends.  Anyway.  I made a couple of changes.  So, really, I’m making a seven veggie sauce with no leeks because leeks are essentially onions and why should I chop two different kinds of onions and then have to explain the green chunks in my sauce?  I also omitted the red peppers because peppers are awful in a hundred different ways and no one should eat them.  I added mushrooms instead, so that my veggie count wouldn’t go too low.  Bonus points for creativity, or at least for liking mushrooms.

A couple of things about this recipe.  Firstly.  I will not now, nor will I ever, presume to know more about cooking than Jamie Oliver.  I am sure that this recipe is perfect in many ways, just not in the way that I can serve it to my family and expect them to eat it.  I had to do some stuff to it.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  As you might imagine, if you’re dumping five hundred different veggies in your sauce, you must first prep said veggies.  My salad shooter was working overtime today.  I would also like to note that the recipe suggests that you use a box grater for all this shredding.  I recommend that only if you have around five hours to devote to this chore and you don’t mind shredding your knuckles.  I won’t go into any detail, but just let it be known that mushrooms aren’t really a salad shooter-friendly food, but you can make it work if you must, and if you are too lazy to pull out the food processor.  So, I prepped and sauteed and dumped in all the veggies, tomatoes and water and this is what I found myself cooking.

Why do so many things I cook look so very disgusting?

This is when I started thinking fondly about Ragu.  But, since I’m stubborn and have some significant investments of time and money in this sauce, I’m going to make it work.  Somehow.  Once everything got cooked, I pureed it all nice and smooth like a tomato sauce should be.  Then I looked at it for a while.  And it looked back.  I had to taste it.  Making myself stick a spoon into that concoction was the most difficult thing I’ve done since I gave birth.  Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but still.  It took some courage.  And, it tasted about like I expected it to taste.  Like a pot full of vegetable puree.  Like baby food, but not the good baby food like applesauce or peaches, but the bad second-stage lumpy orange mush.  There is no amount of garlic that is going to trick my family into eating this.

Still determined to make it work, though, I carried on.  Luckily, I had to foresight to buy a large can of tomato sauce.  Again, not questioning Jamie Oliver’s culinary genius, but I thought the amount of tomatoes in the recipe for tomato sauce seemed a little on the low side.  I mean, squash is great (no, it’s not), but I need this to taste like tomatoes.  Also, I’m just prepared like that.  So I dumped in the sauce.  And a bulb of garlic.  And about three pounds of fresh oregano and parsley and also some granulated garlic and onion powder, just for good measure.  Also some grated Parmesan.  And I blended it some more.  Then simmered some more.

Lo and behold, friends, it’s starting to taste like spaghetti sauce!  It does not yet smell like spaghetti sauce, though, and that concerns me.  In fact, if I had to name the aroma wafting through my house, I would have to choose old rotten garbage.  But I’m sure it’s supposed to smell like that.  I’m just not refined enough to appreciate it.

Since dinner is still a few hours away, I can’t give you the final verdict yet, but I’m feeling a little better about it now than I was three hours ago.  I think it’s going to work, but primarily because of a fundamental food rule, not because eight (or seven) vegetables get along with your pasta.  That rule?  If it doesn’t taste good, put cheese on it.

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  1. August 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    That last rule always works. And don’t forget…bacon makes everything better. Final food rule, always. This was delicious to read even if it not so much to eat. 🙂

    • August 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Oh, yes, so true. If the cheese doesn’t work, bacon certainly will. I ended up relying on a less-known rule- add wine. That made the sauce absolutely delicious…or at least I care less if it’s not delicious. 🙂

      • August 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

        Hahaha! That was a great finish!

  2. August 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I’m impressed! You got me beat hands down … I would have given up when it came time to cut/prep all those veggies. I’d have gone straight for the can of sauce and heated that bad dog up and yelled for everyone to come eat dinner 🙂

    • August 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      That would have been the wiser course of action, although my kids did give me the thumbs up. 🙂 That made it somewhat worthwhile…at least they got their veggies today. And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

  3. cynthia mcdonald
    January 3, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I always put peanut butter in my chili It is great.Now my children put it in there chili.We make a big pan so we have leftovers to freeze and use about a cup of peanutbutter.winsyn4

    • January 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

      I’ve never heard of that…I’ll have to try it! Thanks for the tip!

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