Colorado Style Spaghetti Sauce
I find that a slow cooker really makes this sauce extra-good, but I’ve also made it on the stovetop when I only had a couple of hours before and it’s very good like that too.
First off, ingredients:
Three boxes of Pomi Tomatoes. I like the texture and consistency of two boxes of chopped, one box of strained, but you might want it less thick than I enjoy it so you’d want two boxes of strained, one chopped.
If you’re inclined to make it even thicker, get one of those little cans of tomato paste (I like Contadina)
While you’re in the canned aisle, you should decide if you want mushrooms in the sauce or not. I like the button ones but I’ve had people explain to me that mushrooms don’t belong in spaghetti sauce so I leave them out if I expect these people to be coming over on spaghetti night.
You’ve already got olive oil, right? Of course you do.
A pound, pound and a half, of the meat you like. I like spicy sausage but other people like hamburger. You know your audience.
Now, in the produce section, this is where we load up. Go to the fresh spices and pick up:
fresh basil leaves
If they have a small tube of garlic paste, get you some of that.
Heck, if they have a small tube of pesto, get one of those too.
Get whatever other fresh spices look good to you. One of the things about my sauce is that it’ll have you picking little leaves out from between your teeth for the next couple of days. Maribou likes rosemary in the sauce, sometimes I like tarragon. The big ones are oregano, thyme, and FRESH BASIL LEAVES (that one is mandatory).
Get a nice big sweet yellow onion.
If they have a bag of the “traffic light bell peppers” get that. If they don’t, get one big green bell pepper, one big yellow bell pepper, and one big red bell pepper. Heck, get a second green bell pepper.
Now, we’re in “your taste” territory. If you want carrots in your sauce, pick up some carrots, some like zucchini. You know what you like.
I’m going to assume that you have stuff like salt and pepper and a stocked spice rack already at home.
Okay. Now we’re at home.
Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Or rub the sides with butter. It’s all good.
Fry up the meat and drain it the best you can.
Open the tomatoes and put them into the slow cooker, add the tomato paste if you have it.
Add the meat and the mushrooms.
Put the Fresh Basil Leaves in the fridge, they’re not used until pretty much the last step.
Now spend time picking the spices off of the various stems and drop them into the cooker. Throw garlic in there “to taste” (THIS MEANS ALL OF IT!!! ALL OF THE GARLIC!!!) and the pesto if you bought it. Put a bay leaf or two in there. Maybe some cumin. Salt and pepper to taste. A little bit of olive oil.
Cook this for 8 hours on low. Maybe 10. Whatever.
Get to the point where the water is boiling and you’ve just added the pasta to the water.
Chop up your onions and bell peppers and other vegetables. You want them chunky. CHUNKY. Look at your thumb. About that big. Chop them up and, hey, if you’re having a salad, you can sprinkle some of these on the salad too.
Take out the Fresh Basil Leaves now and cut them into thinnish strips. Maybe half a centimeter.
Now, this part assumes that everybody is pretty much ready to eat… take out the bay leaves if you can find them and then, right before serving, add the chunky vegetables to the sauce. Stir them once, twice… thrice… now ladle the sauce onto the pasta. Sprinkle the Basil Leave strips on top of the pile of food on the plate. It looks pretty!
The meat and the herbs and spices have been cooking in the sauce all day but the chunky vegetables are still pretty much raw and crunchy. Of course, the leftovers will cook the vegetables by the time it comes to put it into containers and put it into the fridge… but that first plate with the raw veggies?
It’s *REALLY* good.
(Note: I don’t know if this is *REALLY* Colorado Style or not. I just never encountered this variant in my travels and so I figure that I might as well name it after home. Maybe it’ll take off.)