Colorado Style Spaghetti Sauce



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I think I know what’s on the menu at our house this week.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:


    Interesting recipe writing style, too: starting with the trip to the grocery store for ingredients. I really like that.

    One complaint: I really don’t law fresh oregano; it tastes too strongly of the mint family of which its a member. Drying tames it; and so I much prefer the dried.

    The cumin is an interesting addition, have not tried that. Cumin, cinnamon, and dried (not fresh, different flavor profile) are all really good spices to add a pinch of to nearly anything where you want a deep satisfying flavor. Not enough that your dinner guests will taste the spice itself, but a pinch (1/4 scant teaspoon) for their warmth and sweetness.

    On the strained tomatoes: After you’ve browned the meat and poured the fat off, use that tomato juice to deglaze the pan; get it good and hot, pour the juice in, and use it to stir up all the browned bits of meat juice; cook until the tomato juice is thick and almost gone, and pour that precious few tablespoons of concentrated flavor into the crock pot.

    And I love the idea of nearly-raw vegetables, still filled with crunch!

    Thank you, Jaybird.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Edit: that’s dried ginger, the companion to the cumin and cinnamon.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Oooh, I’ve never done that with the meat juice before. I will do that next time. Excellent.

      (And I *LURVE* the fresh oregano. The mint whispers are the best part!)Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        This, I believe, may be the defining difference between libertarians and liberals! Mint or no mint flavor in the sauce!

        If you care; in Soffritto, Bernedette Vitalo writes about the importance of deglazing something three times; a small amount of deglazing liquid in the pan, cook till nearly gone, then another splash, and again a third time; this, she says, builds up complex layers of flavors. She deglazes with wine; I use the tomato juice. And I do it in threes.Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Hmmmm… I’m a bit concerned about the garlic. Does it cook down?

    I had to have a sit down with Zazzy recently when she made a butter in garlic sauce, but simply microwaved the butter and poured that and raw garlic over pasta. Good idea, poor execution. Raw garlic is just too powerful. And the flavor doesn’t diffuse through the dish, meaning some bites are like biting into a whole clove while others have zero garlicky deliciousness. If you allow garlic to heat a little in hot oils, it releases a lot of its flavors (aromatics, too, which is why the house smells so good), dulling the pieces of garlic itself but infusing the entire dish.

    Does the crock pot get hot enough to achieve a similar effect? If not, I’d probably put the garlic into the meat and utilize Zic’s deglazing trick.

    Regardless, I am intrigued by this. To me, it reads more like a chili than a pasta sauce, but I consider that a good thing. I sometimes have to get all squinty eyed with people who look at me like I’m crazy because I’ll eat delicious, thick, meaty pasta sauce out of a cup, like soup.

    Oh, and I love the way you describe things. For instance, when you say to do with the basil is known as a chiffonade. Not that it matters, because you explained it perfectly. You employed more technique than you might have realized. Which is a big check-plus for you in my book.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Kazzy, there are thousands of varieties of garlic; many sweet and mellow and delicious raw.

      And this is the time of year to explore them, if you stumble across a farmer’s market where they’re for sale and you can ask you friendly farmer about the milder flavors. Look for varieties like Georgian Crystal, Persian Star (both are hard-neck, the only kind of garlic that will grow well in my cold climate.)Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      It’s not that the crock pot gets hot enough it’s that the garlic is in there long enough for it to release its goodness.

      (The magnificent thing about the slow cooker is that you can do all of the slow cooker stuff the night before and let it sit in the fridge for overnight. Last thing before you leave for work, just turn it on for 8-10 hours and you’ll come home to a house that smells like someone’s been cooking all day. Do the last little bit of prep and it’s good with pretty much minimal effort.)Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        My wife and I used to do a lot more slow cooker cooking. We need to get back to that for all the reasons you mentioned. Coming home to dinner being ready is pretty awesome.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      re: the chiffonade – for most of his youth, Jaybird worked at a restaurant where the owner had been trained by Paul Bocuse. It shows up now and then :D.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I also usually like to put some wine in the sauce (at the beginning, with the meat) and have it be more or less from the same batch as the wine we’ll be drinking when we eat.

    That’s, like, 100% optional though.Report

  5. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    A complaint: nowhere do I see the husk of a Parmesean cheese added. I can hang with the tubed garlic paste and tubed pesto (note that pesto includes both pine nuts and olive oil, so it’s pretty fatty) and I have great approval for the use of the slow cooker (an under-utilized appliance, IMO).

    But the richness of the Parm — from the whey and the rennet — is not replicated by anything else in Italian-esque cuisine. It also is the best use of the heel which is otherwise too thick to be consumed directly. It’s a mandatory component in all of my sauces incorporating tomato.

    Compare Jaybird’s style to mine:

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I’m not a cheese in the sauce guy for my red sauces (I do put cheese in my cream sauces, though). I thought about adding a paragraph about having freshly shredded cheese on the table (with, of course, some crushed red pepper next to it) for those inclined to add a little something… but I can’t think of a single spaghetti sauce recipe that wouldn’t include that paragraph and, as such, it struck me as extraneous.Report