Mamma Mia!

It pays to have friends with gardens. This summer yielded me three large Ball jars of freshly canned tomatoes from friends. Last week I decided to put the garden gifts to good use by making spaghetti sauce. Another confession here…although I may be about 1/3 Italian, I have never made my own homemade sauce before. I had invited my friend Elliotte and her daughter Lilianna over for dinner and I was eager to impress my guests. After all, Elliotte was bringing Lemon Ginger Bars, so I had some competition!

Despite a malfunctioning computer in our stove which causes the digital clock to beep and flash F-1 about every four minutes, the sauce turned out amazing. I wound up offering a free dinner invite to anyone who could give me a solution to my oven-woes on Facebook. My friend Jeremy was lucky winner.

My sauce consisted of:

  • 3 ball jars of tomatoes
  • 1-2 small jars of tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves diced
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 small white onions diced
  • fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, basil, oregano, parsley
  • fresh wheat pasta
  • 8 Wegmans meatballs

I started the sauce around 11 a.m. by sauteing the garlic, onions and herbs together for about ten minutes. Then I added two jars of tomato puree and one tablespoon of sugar. Once that heated up, I turned the heat down to a simmer and began gradually adding the tomato paste about a tablespoon at a time, once an hour. I made sure to keep a constant watch on the sauce, stirring it regularly. After about two hours, I gradually began adding the second jar of puree and the second tablespoon of sugar.

I cooked my meatballs in a baking dish according to the directions, cooled them on a plate with a paper towel and added them to the sauce at about 4 p.m. By 6 p.m. the sauce was nice and thick. I served it on fresh wheat pasta along with salad and rolls – a traditional Italian feast.

Dessert was just as scrumptious. Elliotte shared the secret for these easy and sure to please Lemon Ginger Bars with me. Using a store-bought sugar cookie mix, Elliotte followed the instructions and added her own touch to the mixture — ginger powder,

crystallized ginger, lemon zest and a touch of lemon juice. Once the cookie mixture was baked and cooled, she topped it with a warm lemon pie filling, with some lemon zest added to it. Once the pudding mixture cooled, she topped it with strips of crystallized ginger. It was a night of great food and great company!

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