Monday, April 26, 2010

A Mother's Day Recipe

My mother passed away in 1983 from ovarian cancer, just a few weeks shy of her 49th birthday.  In her honor, I now share with you her recipe for pasta sauce.  It was a staple in our house growing up; Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays were all days for pasta at our house, and it all started with this sauce, which as kids we called "gravy."  Even after all this time, I can't cook or eat anything Italian without thinking of my mother.  I hope this recipe gives you as much pleasure as it has given me!

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium yellow onion
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped (roasted red pepper from a jar is OK to use)
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 28 oz. can diced or chopped Italian tomatoes
2 28 oz. cans Italian tomato puree
1 large (10.5 oz.) can Italian tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt to taste
optional: 1/2 cup red wine

In a large skillet heat oil and sauté garlic, onion, and peppers.  When onion starts to soften add mushrooms.  Cook until the onions are soft and almost clear.  Transfer to a large pot.  Add diced tomatoes, puree, basil, oregano and parsley.  Mix well and begin cooking over medium heat.  When the mixture starts to simmer, add tomato paste to thicken and wine if desired.  Adjust thickness if necessary with a little bit of water until you get the sauce just the way you like it.  Add salt to taste.  Lower heat to a simmer when the pot begins to bubble again.  Stir well occasionally, at least every twenty minutes, to prevent sticking and burning at the bottom of the pot.  For the best flavor, allow to simmer for as long as possible; two to three hours at least.

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