I have always enjoyed pasta. It was my go-to affordable meal in college, and it continued to be when I was single and making meals just for myself. The issue I have always found, however, is the sauce. Nothing store-bought can ever compare to a home-made sauce. So when my great aunt told us she would be making her yearly batch of pasta sauce, we asked if we could come learn her technique, and maybe sample a little along the way. She put us straight to work, and the process is long and intense (we actually were only present for one of the 3 days that she spent making the sauce) but it is well worth the effort. Read on to learn how to make the amazingly easy, yet delicious home-made pasta sauce.
Since my aunt planned on making enough sauce to last an entire year, she needed a lot of tomatoes. And I mean, A LOT. She had to go to multiple farmers markets to get enough, and ended up purchasing 120 pounds of Roma tomatoes. The rest of the ingredients depend on what type of sauce you would like to make. She makes three different types of sauces: Veal, Sausage and Marinara. Each of them include garlic, onions and Italian spices, added to taste.
First, she spread the tomatoes out so she could easily pick out the bad ones and to let the rest ripen all the way. We worked with small batches, so we would fill up a bucket, wash each tomato separately and then start to slice them into 4 pieces. Those pieces would all be thrown in a large pot to cook down on the stove. After cooking for an hour or two (the tomatoes were mushy and hot), we took an apple grinder and spooned ladles full of the tomato mush into the grinder, and then we slowly ground down the pieces until they were a watery-tomato mix. The mix went straight into another pot set to simmer for hours as the watery part cooked down and the sauce thickened.
While we waited for the sauce to thicken, we started simmering onions, garlic and other spices together in yet another pot. This is also the time when we added in the sausage or veal. When the sauce was thick enough, we started slowly adding it to our onion-garlic-spice-meat mixture, and again let it simmer for a few hours.
We spent hours preparing the different types of sauce, and at the end of a very long day, we were rewarded with my aunts rarely tasted, yet most delicious, home-made lasagna using, what else, but our home-made pasta sauce!
The flavor is like nothing else and I highly recommend spending a weekend trying this yourself. While the process is time consuming, it is not difficult, and the end result is like nothing you have ever tasted, beyond delicious!