Homemade Spaghetti Sauce- Part One

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce- Part One

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Sophia Loren once said about herself, “All you see I owe to spaghetti.

 

When I look back at my own teen years, I think the same can be said.

While I didn’t grow up in Italy, spaghetti was my go-to comfort food.

 

As a teen, my mother worked til after dinner hours and my step-dad worked nights.

So I, as the oldest daughter, helped by making dinner most week nights.

 

Guess what?  My brothers and sisters got whatever I felt like making….and on most dark, rainy, Oregon winter nights, I wanted spaghetti.

 

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Warm, comforting spaghetti with its bright, colorful sauce.

So yes, probably three or so nights a week, spaghetti was served.

 

Pasta sauce, marinara….It’s all spaghetti sauce.  (I realize the above photo is linguine, but like I said, it’s all spaghetti to me.)

 

My mother never bought sauce from the store and as a young teen, all I knew was that she used tomato sauce and seasoned it up.

Keep in mind, in a large family with six children, we always had a few picky eaters.

So over the years, my mother added less and less to the sauce in order to keep everyone pleasant and fed.

I think at one point it was pretty much tomato sauce, garlic and parsley flakes.  (Usually browned hamburger as well)

 

I remember clearly the day, at age twelve, that I decided to venture into the kitchen to try my hand at spaghetti.

It all began with a Prego commercial.  Remember the one?  From the 80’s?

“Does it have real onion and garlic?

It’s in there!

Basil and oregano?

Look, it’s in there!”

 

I looked around to ask my mom what we were having for dinner…and realized she wouldn’t be home for a few more hours.

I was hungry and darn if that commercial didn’t suck me right in!

Wishing my mother would buy spaghetti sauce in a jar like other mothers I knew, I began opening cupboards, looking for ingredients.

 

That’s what our kitchen had- ingredients. No easy snacks of any kind.

 

I was afraid to brown any hamburger meat by myself, so I decided on plain sauce and pasta.

Using my super powers of recall, I had memorized the four ingredients listed in the commercial.

 

Getting my base going by opening a huge can of tomato sauce and heating it in a pot, as well as my water boiling in another, I was ready to experiement.

 

Let me tell you, I can recall the strain of trying to keep TWO things cooking at once- pasta and sauce.

It was exhausting and I wondered how on earth mothers did this on a regular basis.

 

To the tomato sauce I added dehydrated diced onion, parsley and basil flakes, oregano powder and granulated garlic.

I was fairly liberal with all, and added a dash or two of salt and pepper to top it off.

It smelled wonderful!

 

Using a wooden spoon as per the commercial, I tasted the sauce with great anticipation…and was disappointed to find that it was rather strong in flavor.

Much stronger than my mother’s sauce, which I was used to.

Knowing I shouldn’t waste ingredients and my pasta ready and strained, I went ahead and ate my meal, leaving the extra on the stove for my family.

 

I went back to my busy afternoon of watching our two t.v. channels and a little later, the rest of the family came home.

 

They began commenting on the wonderful smell of food in the kitchen and asking me questions about my sauce, and did I in fact, make all of this by myself?

Tasting the sauce on said wooden spoon, they raved about the taste.

 

I was completely surprised and rather proud of myself.

I ‘fessed up, explaining about the commercial as my inspiration and my mother, looking at me;  her eyes sparkling with surprise and admiration, laughed her wonderfully contagious laugh.

It’s a good memory.

 

I realize that pasta can be a bad word nowadays, when carbs have been practically vilified.

I can only say that my beloved comfort food has seen me through when I needed it, has grown some healthy babies and children and has woven its fragrant magic in my kitchen on many a winter’s day.

 

Spaghetti: It’s what’s (twice-a-month) for dinner.

 

For Homemade Spaghetti Sauce- Part Two, I’ll focus on making your own delicious sauce to freeze for winter nights!

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PS If you’re lowering your carb-load, Dreamfield’s healthy carb spaghetti is wonderful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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