A big can of crushed tomatoes… nice olive oil… sweet onion and lots of garlic… fresh parsley… a bit of red wine… and I had sauce! That I cooked! Without setting the kitchen on fire!


Really, it’s not as bad as that, but I did have to wait for the DH to come home and open the bottle of wine. What is the matter with me that at 38 I still don’t know how to use a corkscrew?

You should know that actually having a corkscrew in the house is an improvement. There was an occasion when my dad was living here and wanted wine with his spaghetti dinner. There were plenty of dusty bottles of wine around, but no corkscrew. If you could have seen the two of us and the mutilation we inflicted on that cork with a knife to get at the wine.


A co-worker who lurks here had pity on my culinary skills and emailed me his recipe with nicely detailed instructions. Which I promptly deleted in one of my *clear-the-inbox* frenzies. So Tony, would you send me that recipe again, so I won’t have to improvise the next time I feel like spaghetti? Please?

It was pretty nice, btw. Needed something though.

If anyone has a nice, easy recipe they’d like to share, that would be fun, too. I need all the help I can get.


#22 in my 38 by 39.

22 thoughts on “22”

  1. I don’t know if this qualifies as easy–but I have made it and like it.
    Donna’s Spaghetti Sauce
    1/4 cup olive oil
    3 carrots grated
    2 peppers, chopped.
    2 onions, chopped
    SAUTE above ingredients in oil until soft.
    ADD: 12 pounds tomatoes, peeled & diced
    ADD seasonings:
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    2 tablespoons salt
    2 tsp. oregano
    2 tsp. basil
    1 tsp. pepper
    Cook low heat, partially covered, for 2 hours. Stir periodically.
    Freeze in pint containers.
    NOTE the missing ingredient–garlic. My husband is allergic, so I don’t use it. I am sure you could add a crushed clove or two with the carrots, peppers and onions.

  2. 12 pounds of peeled and diced tomatoes KGMom?


    How many hours will that take me?

    I like the idea of carrots… I think they add something nice to sauce.

  3. Carrots? Unusual. I don’t think I could live without garlic. What do you use for a vampire repellent?

    I don’t like “chunky” sauces, so I don’t use whole tomatoes; instead, I use tomato sauce, with some tomato paste for thickening. Gotta have onion and garlic sauteed in olive oil, parsley (Italian by preference), oregano, basil, and a bay leaf. Don’t forget to take the bay leaf out before serving – I choked on one that I forgot once – YUCK! A touch of sugar is my secret ingredient.

    Trouble is, I make sauce by the “stir and taste” method. I don’t think I have an actual recipe. I usually make a big vat of it and freeze it in glass jars. When I thaw it out, I can add ground beef, or other meats.


  4. LOL Laura! No recipes to share here other than “Open jar of Prego” but I do have a good suggestion for you… Google “Screwpull Pocket Model” (I have the lever model, wino that I am) and you’ll never fight with a cork again. :c)

  5. I recently thought I’d save some time opening a bottle of wine by not pealing back the foil wrap at the top. I was annoyed that I couldn’t get the cork out after screwing into it. Turns out it was a screw top cap on the bottle. Much laughter ensued.

  6. In his book, “How to Cook Everything,” Mark Bittman (from the NYTimes) has a Basic Tomato Sauce that is easy and delicious. I make it in the summer when I can get fresh basil — it’s the reason I grow it on my patio! You can cook it in the time it takes to bring water to a boil and cook your pasta.

    3 T olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed; or 1 small onion, minced
    1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
    2 or 3 T. chopped fresh basil (or other herbs)
    salt and pepper to taste

    Heat 2 T. oil with garlic or onion over medium heat until garlic is lightly golden or onion is translucent.
    Drain tomatoes and remove seeds, if you wish. Crush them with a fork (or your hands) and add them to the skillet, with salt and pepper and basil.
    Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down (about 10 minutes).
    Remove the garlic if you like. Stir in remaining oil, and serve over pasta.

    Sorry to take up so much comment space, but this is a good one.

    Wayne, PA

  7. OK, Laura – Here is about the only thing I can cook:
    1 lb. ground beef or chuck
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 chopped onion
    1 chopped bell pepper
    3 cloves of garlic, minced
    29 oz tomato sauce
    16 oz tomato paste
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/2 tsp oregano
    1 tsp basil
    1/2 tsp salt

    Cook onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil till clear.
    Add bell peppers and 1/2 garlic and brown slightly.
    Add meat and cook till brown.
    Drain fat and break up any chunks.
    Add remaining garlic, spices and tomato sauces.
    Combine thoroughly and then allow to cook slowly over medium-low heat, for an hour+ if possible.

    Works for me…

  8. So all you cook wimps out there are having problems with 12 pounds of tomatos.
    OK–here’s the back story. I am 8 months pregnant with my daughter, and for some fool reason I had planted tomatoes that summer. Damn–those plants went wild and produced tomatoes, maybe in honor of my fecundity.
    Anyway, I needed to do something with all the tomatoes. And I did. It is easy to peel them, if you plunge them in boiling water, then just slip the skins off. Then chop.
    But, I confess–I was standing in the kitchen for many long hours. But I have never eaten a better spaghetti sauce!
    So there!

  9. Well, you do note that the recipe makes pints of sauce. So, except for the first time, you can just pull one out of the freezer and thaw.
    I tend to make things ahead of time–I especially did so when my children were small and everything was SCHEDULED!

  10. Susan: You’re no help whatsoever!

    Thanks for the rhyme anyway.


    Rabbit’s Guy: Yeah.. basil sounds nice – tho I don’t have all day to simmer.

    Katdoc: Hi and thanks for the bay leaf warning. lol! I’ve done the same myself often enough.

    Jayne: Yeah… I like jar sauce, too.


  11. Pablo: (laugh)

    I was actually hoping to buy a *box* of wine yesterday and thereby avoid the whole corkscrew issue, but it would mostly have gone to waste.

    Heather: Hey! Thanks… that sounds nice and simple and hard to foul up!

    Delia: Um… (laugh) I think you’re doing way too much number-crunching or whatever it is you make a living at.


    Dr. Know: Thanks.. sounds nice.

    I have a great recipe from a little Italian lady at work, but it took hours and had so many ingredients and was so complicated.

    I like simple!

    KGMom: We often have a similar problem with zucchini. And eggplant.


    Mary: Hi. I miss you, too! Though I’d love it if you have a minute someday to share your authentic recipe.

    New River? I may have to, as it doesn’t sound like you plan to come to Cape May.


  12. First off — thank you! I really appreciate the various tomato sauce recipes. I’ve been wanting to try to make my own sauce for awhile now.

    Secondly, the wine. Too funny. When Greg and I were young and foolish, we went tent camping without a corkscrew. I know — the horror! So, the thing was that we bought a bottle of wine — it was an elderberry wine (I think . . . a something berry at any rate) on our travels. That night, we realized we couldn’t open it. Rather than ask one of our neighbors (How emBARassing!), Greg built a corkscrew out of a coat hanger. Sure his attempt would fail, we took the foil off the bottle to reveal a screw cap.

  13. Seems the quest for the perfect spaghetti sauce is universal, judging by the interest this blog spawned! Funny how each is as different as its author.

    My godmother, Anna Tempesta Ricci, served a mean sauce in her renowned restaurant, La Bona Casa. You’d love its simplicity: Italian tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, garlic and onions sauteed in olive oil, lots of fresh basil, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. That’s it!

    For an interesting read and a much more complicated sauce, search the New York Times for my cousin’s article, which she wrote last year in HER quest for the source of the Zappa family sauce.

    As with her experience, the scent of my sauce has served as a touchstone for me and my family over the years. Thanks for bringing it all back to me, Laura!

    And good luck with your sauce. If ever I get up to Cape May for the butterflies, perhaps you can try it out on me!

  14. Liza: First off: I’m impressed that you’d even to think to bring wine on a camping trip!


    I think those boxes o’ wine must be the way to go when in the woods.

    Elizabeth: The quest for the perfect sauce – lol!

    My dad made wonderful sauce – doctored from a jar somehow – but even more wonderful now in memory.

    More than anything I think I’d like to know how to make my mom’s meatballs.

  15. Box wine!?!?

    No wonder you don’t like the stuff.

    We’ll have to work on that …


    (And as to not having a corkscrew in the house, not only do I have several, I’ve also one in the car, for camping trips!)


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