Quick Red Sauce

Whilst clearing out my former pantry yesterday, I found a case of tomato sauce / puree from my last warehouse run.   As I am not about to just toss it into the dumpster, I’ll pull together a couple of posts on how to use.

From Wikipedia:

Tomato sauce (also known as Neapolitan sauce, and Salsa di pomodoro in Italian) can refer to a large number of different sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish, rather than as a condiment. Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as sauces for pasta dishes. Tomatoes have a rich flavor, high water content, soft flesh which breaks down easily, and the right composition to thicken into a sauce when they are cooked (without the need of thickeners such as roux). All of these qualities make them ideal for simple and appealing sauces.

The most common use of the term tomato sauce in New Zealand and South Africa is to describe a popular, commercially produced condiment, that is a type of Table Sauce, similar to American ketchup but without vinegar, typically applied to foods such as meat pies, sausages, other cooked meat, (in particular Steak) and Fish and chips. Tomato-based sauces served with pasta would commonly be referred to as “pasta sauce” or “Napoletana sauce”

Your basic tomato sauce is pretty bland stuff, we need to pump it up a bit.  I’m thinking a mirepoix, sweated until it takes on some color, perhaps some roasted garlic, maybe a touch of Cajun Trinity (a mirepoix, where the carrots are replaced with bell pepper), and of course fresh herbs.

As I also have tomato paste from the same shopping run, I’ll add some, just to deepen the tomato flavor, and boost the consistency.

Always test your basic canned sauce, open it and dip a clean finger in, taste it, does it taste good, or is it bitter?  If it is bitter, find a better brand of sauce / tomato puree, dump this can, you WILL NOT LIKE the resultant sauce.

Bitter tomato sauce usually comes from cooking tomatoes with the seeds, AKA crushed tomatoes, or diced.  As always good food starts with good ingredients.

A general comment, even in canned food, ESPECIALLY in canned food, get good quality, watch the ingredient list, and double, triple check the sodium content…  In this case my tomato sauce has nothing, but tomatoes, salt, basil, and citric acid.

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Basic Red Sauce
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Course Sauce
Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 30 min
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Sauce
Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 30 min
Servings
people
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Instructions
  1. In a large saute pan, not a sauce pot, Over medium high heat, add oil add carrots, (if used) Saute 3 minutes, until they begin to soften
  2. Add onions, celery, Bell pepper (if used) Saute until onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes
  3. Add roasted garlic, and saute 1 minute or less, until the garlic of fragrant Add 1/2 fresh herbs / oregano
  4. Add tomatoes and bump up to high heat. Simmer at high for 5-7 minutes. Until just thickened
  5. Taste and check flavor / seasonings
  6. Remove from heat and add remaining herbs, to taste.
Recipe Notes

If the sauce gets too thick, one can add vegetable broth, or other stock.     I'll be playing with mushroom broth this evening.

As with my other basic red sauce, this can be used as part of a follow on meal.  ( A polite way of saying reuse leftovers ...

If the basic canned sauce is bitter, one MIGHT add a pinch of baking powder to try and  cut the bitterness, or add a bit of sugar.   In most cases this will not work extremely well, but it is a chance..   Most times, I will just dump the can.

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Vegetarian Sloppy Joe’s

It is Memorial Day weekend, I am in city, sorting out my “Digital Life”.  The room mates have decided to “be elsewhere”, leaving me with the freedom to explore new culinary avenues.

Usually I either grill or smoke for the weekend, but have not the time or the environment for this..   But all is not lost, the all time American standby by dinner, the “Sloppy Joe”, will come to my rescue.  And I’ll even toss the vegetarian twist into this.

From Wikipedia

A sloppy joe is a sandwich consisting of ground beef or pork, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun.The dish originated in the United States during the early 20th century.

Ground turkey or textured vegetable protein may be used as a substitute for ground beef.

A sloppy joe differs from a traditional loose meat or tavern sandwich due largely to its tomato-based sauce.

I have a number of options as a vegetable protein, to replace the meat component.  Various beans, tofu / soy products, or various mushrooms.  Perhaps, button mushrooms in a large dice, partially crushed black beans as well, then the usual onions, green peppers, garlic, spices and the ever present tomato sauce and top it off with a good melting cheese.

Traditionally, a grated parmesan cheese is used, but I just like a nice melted cheese.

As a follow on, I can use the left over joe mix with soy dogs and the rest of the cheese to make Chili Cheese dogs for another meal.

 

Print Recipe
Vegetarian Sloppy Joe's
A quick, easy meal for the on the go crowd.
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
People
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
People
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat
  2. Add mushrooms and saute until caramelized; thence remove
  3. Add onion / bell peppers and saute until softened
  4. Add tomato paste and saute until carmelized
  5. Add garlic and saute until fragrant
  6. Reduce heat to medium low Add mushrooms, beans, spices, tomato sauce, soy sauce, liquid smoke, stir to combine and heat through
  7. Taste and adjust balance
Recipe Notes

Serve over toasted buns, and top with cheese.

I side this with tortilla chips

This is a great base recipe, one can omit the chili's and add oregano, basil and more tomato sauce for a basic pasta sauce.

That sauce and be lengthened with veggie stock to form a tomato soup.

Or adding additional chili powder and cumin can form a decent vegetarian chili.

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