Thursday, July 31, 2008
Veggie-Rich Red Sauce
One of my favorite things to both make and eat is homemade pasta sauce. I don't really adhere to a particular recipe because each time I tend to open the fridge and use whatever I have on hand as ingredients. Lately I have been sneaking extra vegetables into the sauces I make because my toddler is utterly dead-set against consuming any green vegetables, so I have to disguise or hide them from her. The best way I have found to do this is to use the food processor! Here's my toddler-fooling pasta sauce:
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 pkg portobella mushrooms, chopped
1 sm/med zucchini or summer squash, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 sm onion, chopped
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 scant tsp oregano
salt & pepper
1 bay leaf
Saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano until onion is soft and slightly golden and mushrooms have cooked down to about 1/2 their regular size. Dump into food processor. Add 1/2 can crushed tomatoes and puree until smooth. Transfer from food processor to large saucepan.
In same saute pan, add a bit more oil and saute zucchini, broccoli, carrots, and bell pepper with a tiny bit of salt and pepper until broccoli is tender. Carrots should be getting soft, but definitely not mushy. Dump into food processor. Add remaining 1/2 can crushed tomatoes and puree until smooth. You may need to add a drizzle of olive oil to get a better consistency. Transfer from food processor and combine with onion/tomato mixture. Add bay leaf.
Heat tomato sauce to bubbling, stirring to prevent it from burning or sticking to the pot. Add tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes so all flavors can blend. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add water. If you like it thicker, let it simmer down on the stove.
Serve over the pasta of your choice, and smile to yourself as your family eats their veggies without even knowing it!!!
Note: sometimes I will leave some of the sauteed veggies out of the food processor for the adults who like them. In the pic above, there are visible pieces of red bell pepper and mushrooms.