Visits to Upstate New York and Spaghetti Sauce


Spending your vacation in the stockades.


I’m Italian and many summers were spent with my mother’s family in upstate New York.  Upon arrival every summer, one ritual was to pay a visit to each and every household of our relatives.  Every house was full of the sights (plastic slipcovers on all the furniture and butterscotch candies in a dish) and smells of a typical old world Italian family.  The pungent smell of real parmigiana cheese and homemade sauce on the stove permeated every home without exception.

This recipe is one of my own but let’s give credit where it is due…my sister suggested some of the spices that eventually became the recipe.  It isn’t a particularly difficult recipe and it gets better come serving time, if you make it in advance by a couple of days.  The flavors meld really well together as each batch sits in the fridge.

The secret to this recipe is that I add some sugar which plays great against the red pepper flakes.  That is why I think of it as the sweet and the heat spaghetti sauce recipe.

Simple Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

1  medium onion, chopped

4  cloves of garlic, minced

1  pound of any ground protein of your choice (sausage, pork, beef, chicken, etc)

2  (28) ounce cans of Petite Diced Tomatoes

1  t. Fennel Seed

1  t. Dried Basil

1  t. Crushed Red Pepper

1  t. Dried Oregano

1/4  c. of sugar

1  t. salt

1/2  t. pepper

Warm 1 – 2 t. of olive oil in a saute pan; add onions and cook until translucent.  Add minced garlic and cook for 1 – 2 minutes more.  Remove from pan, set aside in a bowl and add ground protein into the saute pan and cook through.

In a separate bowl, mix the diced tomatoes, fennel seed, basil, red pepper flakes, oregano and onion/garlic mixture.  Take the mixture and place it in a blender (you may have to do it in two batches, depending on the size of your blender or you can use and immersion blender) and puree the sauce just until the tomato chunks and onions are reduced in size.  This should only take about 2 – 4 pulses with your blender.

Transfer the pureed sauce into a stock pot and add the ground protein of choice.  Stir in the sugar, salt and pepper and cook over low heat, covered for about 30-40 minutes and it’s ready to serve!

Fresh from the garden parsley and REAL parmesan cheese.

Freshly cooked pasta in a vintage collander.

Old Fashioned Comfort Food.


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