I made this sauce originally with the intent to use up those less then fresh vegetables I needed to clear out of my fridge before they were no longer edible. As you can tell from the picture below, some of the peppers and carrots were closer to the compost heap then a veggie tray. But still perfect to cook with.
I call this my Bolognese sauce more because it’s my interpretation of a thick sauce for pasta or spaghetti squash. Bolognese sauce is supposed to be a meat-based sauce, and while I do put ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey in my sauce, you’ll see below the sauce has way more vegetables then meat. (but that’s how I fool my family…. shhhh. Our little secret, K?)
There is no formal recipe. As Chef Michael Smith would say, these are just guidelines to help you experiment in your kitchen. This is what I usually use in my sauce, you can add or eliminate which ever you so choose. These are only the building blocks of your own special sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced (if you don’t have onion, add 1 tbsp onion powder)
1 tbsp minced garlic (or 1 tsp of garlic powder)
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 cans of crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
1 can of tomato paste (to thicken it up at the end if needed)
1 lbs of ground meat (beef, pork, chicken or turkey, or a mixture of)
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
I had peppers, zucchini, carrots and tiny tomatoes that needed to be used up.
I would also recommend mushrooms, celery or anything else you think you can make “disappear” in your sauce. I highly recommend adding red peppers, they add a sweetness to the sauce the family loves.
Your box grater will be your best friend while you’re trying to make the veggies small enough to disappear in your sauce. On a side note, who says you need to hit the gym to get a workout. Try throwing a batch of this sauce together, your arms will be toned before you know. Grating carrots and zucchini can be hard work!
In a large pot over medium heat, add about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for an extra minute or two. Now dump in all your grated and chopped veggies. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until veggies are tender. As you can see, I added ALOT of veggies to the pot but I also wanted to make lots of sauce. I was going to use the sauce for lasagna and freeze a few batches of the sauce.
Meanwhile in a frying pan, brown up your meat. You can adjust the quantity of your meat depending on how much sauce you are making. Or you can eliminate it completely if you are vegetarian. Maybe you would like to add some tofu to the sauce to replace the meat. So many options.
Drain your meat and add it to the pot with all the vegetables. Add in your cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to complete your sauce. Add in another can of tomatoes or sauce to change the constancy of the sauce if you wish. Add in your seasoning. Stir together and reduce heat. Simmer your sauce for at least 40 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste your sauce before you remove it from the heat. Add additional seasoning if you wish.
The sauce is thick enough to go straight between lasagna noodles with some cheese or store in some mason jars for a quick and easy supper. I try keep a supply in my freezer and pull one out in the morning. At supper time all I need to do is cook the pasta (or my speghetti squash) and heat the sauce up. Voila!