Today was a brutal day at work. I believe the only thing that got me through it was the fact that there was a bottle of beautiful dark wine in the fridge, beckoning for me to come home. I could almost hear it calling my name….Never mind, that was my children asking me when I would be home to cook dinner. Now that I was awoken from my daydream it was time for me to go home and get to cooking.
When I arrived home, I had to get going on the ingredients quick. I was really in the mood for pasta, and the sauce tends to take a little while. After pulling the wine out of the fridge, I had to remind myself what I got in there for. I really needed tomatoes, green peppers, garlic, and onions. Whenever I make pasta sauce I wrestle with the dilemma that I know we all face, “Do I want to drink the wine or cook with it?” For me, it boils down to whether or not I have enough for both. Today I do, so pasta sauce with wine it is!
I really like the flavor of a good homemade sauce. If it has wine in it, then I love it more, the more intense, the better. Before I get started, I put on the 80’s music and pour my first glass of wine. My kids respond well to the music, even singing along to some it (of course, they would never admit that to their friends).
For my sauce, I always start out with my tomatoes. I need them to be skinless. I do this by boiling them for a few minutes. The skin starts to crack and get wrinkly. When this happens, I toss them in some ice water to stop the cooking process.
While this is going on, I chop my green peppers and onions. I cut mine a little thick because I like my sauce so chunky it could be a dish all its own. I add the onions to some olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and cook them for a few minutes before adding the green pepper and garlic.
When I have added all the ingredients, and they have cooked until tender, I add wine to the mix. I cook the wine down, then I add more. I repeat this a few more times. I like my sauces to have an intense flavor of a good wine. The amount you add will be based on how intense of taste you desire.
After I have reduced the wine to my satisfaction, I peel the skin off of the tomatoes, chop them up and add them to the mixture. At this point, I also add about 1/4 cup chicken broth to thin it out. While it simmers is when I add approximately 2 tbsp basil, salt to taste, 1 tbsp of sweet paprika, 1 tsp of fennel, 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes to taste (I like mine spicy), 1 tsp of garlic, and pepper to taste. This is when the sauce marries all its flavors. While that is happening, I have another glass of wine.
By the end of cooking, I am three glasses in and feeling pretty good. That’s when the dancing and singing starts, at this point my kids could ask me anything and I would say “yes my darlings, I trust your judgment 100%.” Of course, they are ignoring me and playing on their phones, so I am in the clear. While they are preoccupied, I have time to cook the pasta to the desired tenderness. They really don’t start paying attention to me until I put food on the table. At the table, they state their approval through mouthfuls of pasta, then go back to ignoring me as usual.
- Your favorite wine
- Chicken broth
- Green pepper
- Minced garlic
- Sweet paprika
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic granules
- Crushed red pepper
- Favorite pasta noodles