One night I wanted a nice pot of pasta for dinner, in fact I was craving pasta, but was too fatigued from work to even consider cooking. As luck would have it, my partner Tom was in the mood to cook. Tom likes to experiment in the kitchen, and the results are almost always delicious. This recipe is one of his creations, and was so good that I, the Italian of our household, now leave all the sauce-making to him!
We've since made this sauce a few more times, and have used it to get off the Ragú habit. It's easy to make, and doesn't require more than an hour or so of preparation time. It also keeps well, and improves after a day or two in the refrigerator.
- 2 14½-ounce (450 ml each) cans of diced tomatoes (crushed tomatoes can be used)
- 3 8-ounce (250 ml each) cans of tomato sauce
- 1 6-ounce (175 ml) can of tomato paste
- 1/8 teaspoon (¼ ml) baking soda (important, don’t leave this out)
- ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) lemon pepper
- ¼ cup (60 ml) grated mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup (60 ml) grated parmesan or romano cheese
- ¼ cup (60 ml) Kraft Sun-Dried Tomato salad dressing (sun-dried tomato paste may be substituted)
- 4 ounces (125 gm) of any ground meat substitute (we use Boca crumbles; if you want meat, use ground beef or turkey)
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) thyme
- ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) basil
- ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) rosemary (we used powdered, but whole is fine)
- ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) oregano
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) onion powder (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) garlic powder (to taste)
Mix the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste together in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce just begins to boil. Reduce the heat just a bit, and add the baking soda. The sauce will fizz and bubble as the soda neutralizes some of the acid of the tomatoes. Stir the sauce until the fizz stops and is nearly gone.
Next, add the lemon pepper, cheeses, and salad dressing, and the ground meat substitute. Stir to mix and return the sauce to a light boil, adding heat if necessary. Enjoy the wonderful aroma now filling your kitchen.
When it is bubbling along nicely, add the thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, and olive oil. Stir to mix, and reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers. Cover and allow to cook for at least half an hour, stirring frequently. Periodically, you should taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your taste. I haven’t included salt in this recipe because Tom doesn’t like it, but you can add a bit if you like (I certainly do).
About fifteen minutes or so before serving, add the onion powder and garlic powder. Taste and check seasonings once more. Finally, remove it from the heat and allow to stand for five or ten minutes. The sauce is now ready and will nicely coat one to one and one-half pounds of cooked pasta. It's a bit on the chunky side and makes a nice spread for bruschetta as well.