Anytime Pasta Sauce

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion (chopped)

1 celery stalk (chopped fine)

1 small bell pepper (chopped fine) optional

3-6 garlic cloves (minced)

½ tsp fennel seed (optional)

1 tsp dried basil

½ tsp oregano

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1-28 oz can of whole Italian tomatoes with juice (or fresh peeled)

1 small can of tomato paste

½ cup dry red wine

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Stevia or sugar

¼ cup fresh basil

1 tbsp lemon juice

water as needed

Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

 

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high.  Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic (in that order) with a dash of sea salt.  Sauté for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  2. Add spices giving them a few turns.  With your hands, (the Italian way) squeeze the tomatoes to break them up and add them along with all the juices to the pot.  Add tomato paste, wine, vinegar, and sugar.  Simmer on low with tilted lid for at least 30 minutes.  The longer the better.  I will simmer this sauce if I have time for a couple of hours, adding a little water and stirring occasionally as needed.
  3. At the end of cooking add lemon juice, fresh basil, salt, and pepper to taste.  Bring to simmer for another 10 minutes.

 

Serve with whole grain or gluten-free pasta – Fabulous on top of roasted vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or spaghetti squash.  For a meaty, meatless version – try adding lentils or cauliflower (See Vegan Ground Meat Recipe).  A great sauce for experimentation!