Frugal Healthy Recipe: Sunday Sauce

Contributed By Marissa Bognanno, Professional Chef and Zumba Instructor, and Author of The Boot Blog

In Italy, Sundays are all about the family lunch. We get to Manu's parents' at one, and for a brief 20 minutes, there's chaos: everyone's helping in the kitchen, little babies are probably breaking something and we're all trying to get to the stove for a little spoonful of the Sunday sauce. Manu's mom corrals us all, "a tavola!" and we obey, taking the same seats we always do, Manu at the head of the table. (His sisters call him "the prince" for a reason.) Sunday sauce is a rag├╣ with bits of meat, like bolognese sauce, but sometimes we'll just have it simple; crushed tomatoes delicately cooked down atop penne rigate with a generous sprinkling of parmigiano reggiano. Pure poetry.

[the table set for Sunday lunch at Cinzia's house]

Basic Tomato Sauce
(makes about 2 cups)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes 
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh basil

In a 3-quart saucepan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Lightly press down on the garlic clove with the side of a chef's knife, and add it to the oil with the chopped onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not brown. Add the tomatoes and bring to boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes more, stirring to avoid burning the bottom. At the end, add enough salt to taste and the fresh chopped basil.

It felt so good to smell the sauce simmering yesterday - it almost brought me back to the good old days when my Nana used to make it and we'd all get together at her house for a Sunday feast of meatballs and pasta. I will sleep well tonight!

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