I’m so excited for this post.  When I first started thinking about blog concepts I knew that Sugo Sunday was going to be a regular topic.  For those who don’t know, sugo means sauce in Italian.

Growing up, Sundays meant going to Nonna’s for dinner.  Barring a natural disaster, there were very few reasons that allowed you to skip out on Sunday dinner.  Now, it’s probably one of the things I miss most about not being close to home.  We never called it Sugo Sunday growing up, it’s something my mom started calling it a few years ago and it’s stuck.

Our traditional Sunday dinner was always early in the afternoon and filled with food (and then a food coma and nap post-dinner).  We typically began with pasta with a side of meatballs and potatoes (cooked in the sauce), followed by cutlets, rapini, salad and, if we were lucky enough and they were in season, artichokes (YUM!).  Dessert was always fruit, lots and lots of fruit.  Over, the next little while I’m going to break down each element of the meal and provide a recipe for it, plus throw in some new recipes to try out.  But first let’s start with the centrepiece of this post – – – the sauce!

Tomato sauce is so great because it can be presented in many ways with a variety of additions and flavours.  My weekly sauce is simple and cheap to make.  I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually measured any of the ingredients out but I’ll do my best to describe it below.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: At least 1 hour

The stuff in the plastic baggie is frozen tomato paste.
The stuff in the plastic baggie is frozen tomato paste.

1 bottle of passata (or a large tin of diced or crushed tomatoes)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any colour), diced
3 or 4 garlic cloves, pressed or diced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil

  • In a pot, sautee onions and red pepper over medium heat until soft.  Add garlic and sautee for 1 more minute.Photo 2015-04-26, 10 53 20 AM
  • Add passata and tomato paste.  When the passata has been added to the pot, fill the jar up halfway with water, place the lid on and shake it to get everything off the sides.  Add the water to the pot.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer on low for 30 minutes (hint: make sure you’ve got most of the pot covered so you don’t get splatter everywhere).
  • After the sauce has simmered for about half an hour, add the spices, recover the pot and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.

You can continue to simmer longer if you choose, but after an hour you’re good to go.  Mix it up with your favourite pasta and voila! Easy, right?

Some extra hints:

  • If you have picky eaters who don’t like chunky things in their food, use an immersion blender to get a nice smooth sauce
  • Add shredded carrot and zucchini to your vegetable mix for some extra goodness (also a great way to hide veggies when blending)
  • If you like a chunkier sauce use diced tomatoes instead of passata or crushed tomatoes
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