Whenever there is a red-sauce based meal that needs to be made in my house, I convince my reluctant-to-cook partner to make his Special Spaghetti Sauce.
This recipe can be used to make any generic, inexpensive spaghetti sauce into something that tastes indulgently gourmet, using ingredients most kitchens (should) already have on hand, even during the lean times before your next paycheck.
At such a point in our budget, I had a lot of carb- and cheese-heavy tomato sauce-based meals in mind, including Lasagna, Lasagna Rolls, Spaghetti Sandwiches and Cheesy Bread Sticks with Marinara.
Anthony's Special Sauce
Yield: more than 2 quarts with 1 normal sized jar of spaghetti sauce
Slow cooking is the key to this delicious sauce!
If you don't have at least an hour (plus 15 minutes) save it for another day!
Jar(s) of spaghetti sauce (plain or flavored is fine)
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic
2 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
1 and 1/2 bell peppers (any combo of your favorites), chopped into small pieces
a few tablespoons of (combined) oregano, basil, thyme, etc or "Italian Seasoning"
2 bay leaves, broken in half
a small pinch of allspice
a small pinch of sage
a tiny pinch of cumin
a tiny pinch of nutmeg
Put the sauce into an appropriately sized sauce pan. Do not turn on heat yet.
Add the dry spices and let sit on top while you are chopping/pressing the garlic, onion and celery. Letting the spices sit on the sauce for a while allows them to soften up a bit, which allows them to cook properly.
Add garlic, onion and celery to pot, turn on heat to medium heat - not too high!
Stir well. Chop and add bell peppers.
This sauce should cook on low-ish medium heat for about an hour - stirring frequently with special care not to let the bottom burn.
With lots of time over low heat, the herbs dissolve and release flavor, the celery nearly dissolves to create small bursts of slightly sweet and crunchy flavor, and the onions dissolve without caramelizing/sweetening. These are the most important factors that makes this sauce extra yummy.
Remember to stir frequently!
Any old shit from the store will work for this recipe!