Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When in Rome…

With the Obama’s in Rome for the G-8 summit, I’ve been reminiscing about all things Italian. My darling husband served his mission in Rome and we got engaged on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. I cried hysterically when we left – like I was saying good-bye to my best friend. I’ve only been once and dream of taking the family back one day. It was a magical place.

Among the millions of reason I married my DH was he could cook – and cook darn good. His pastas and sauces keep our family well fed. The tradeoff between cooking and cleaning the kitchen is a no-brainer – give me dirty dishes any day! However, since our marriage, I have picked up a few tricks. Below is my quick, easy and SNEAKY, marinara sauce. I add some “extras” so the kids get their veggies without knowing it. Homemade tomato sauce is SO EASY and so much better than jarred sauce.

Easy/Sneaky Marinara Sauce

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic
Dash of red pepper flakes
2 jars of veggie baby food – I use carrots or squash
1 tbsp brown sugar
Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Saute onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in olive oil until soft (about 7 min).
2. Add both cans of tomatoes/sauce. Make sure you add a little water to the cans to get ALL the tomato goodness leftover on the sides – and add that too. Add your veggie baby food. Bring to a boil and simmer at least 20 minutes or until your pasta is ready. Add the brown sugar 5 minutes before you are ready to serve it. Serve over the pasta of your choice with freshly grated parmesan cheese. (You can add dried basil or oregano, but we prefer it plain. If have fresh basil or oregano growing in the herb patch, I always add it when I’m serving).

If you have left over sauce, it makes great pizza sauce. It also freezes well.


Also, the ONLY pasta we eat in our house is BARILLA. It’s an Italian pasta and is found in all major grocery stores. Last week, our Super Wal Mart had it on sale for $.94 a box! I bought a case. It always cooks perfectly and they have tons of shapes and varieties. Please, whatever you do, do not buy RONCO!! Ahhhh!!!