Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cooking with Wine: Spaghetti Sauce

I'm a huge Everybody Loves Raymond fan.  I know the show is either loved or hated by an individual... and I, well, love it!  One of my favorite episodes is titled "Marie's Meatballs" in which Marie, the mother-in-law, "teaches" Debra, Ray's wife, how to cook her Italian meatball recipe that Ray is in love with.  (It is a well known theme on the show that Marie is a fabulous Italian cook, while Debra cannot cook... period.)  However, even after going through the recipe and cooking the meatballs step-by-step with Marie, Debra's meatballs are disliked by Ray (picture to follow):

Ray spitting out Debra's meatballs due to a "weird flavor"

What I love about this episode:
1) Debra goes crazy over figuring out why her meatballs do not taste like Marie's, and believes that Marie sabotaged her.
2) When Marie get's ready to teach Debra how to make her meatballs, she pulls out a bottle of wine.  Debra asks, "How much of this [wine] do we add?"  Marie answers, "I don't know, dear.  That depends on how much is left over."

This is the perfect way to use wine in cooking (although, please cook responsibly)!  Therefore, in honor of the recent Everybody Love's Raymond episode that I watched, I wanted to share my spaghetti sauce recipe with everyone that actually reads this blog.  I should note that I was recently forced to make spaghetti sauce as "Johnny Depp" brought home over 4 lbs. of tomatoes one night, and I had no idea what to do with them.  So on college football Saturday, I spent the day making up my very own (and very first) wine infused spaghetti sauce.  (And, true to Marie Barone's instructions, I added all the wine that was left over in the bottle!)

Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond

Denise's Bordeaux Spaghetti Sauce
- Approximately 4 lbs. of tomatoes, skinned, and pressed (if a watery variety of tomatoes; I learned that Roma tomatoes are the best for sauce)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- as much garlic as you want
- 1 onion, chopped up
- 1 or 2 red pepper(s), chopped up 
- 2 or 3 stalks of celery, chopped up
- Bordeaux wine left in the bottle (I used about 2.5 cups of a Bordeaux wine; you may also substitute a Cabernet, Merlot, Zin, whatever you prefer, etc.)
- a bunch of freshly cut basil
- thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, salt, and pepper added to your liking
- 1 Tbsp. turbinado (raw) sugar

1. Peel skin from fresh tomatoes and squeeze out excess water and seeds if needed.  Cut skinned tomatoes in half. 
2. In large cooking pot, add olive oil, garlic, onions, red pepper(s), and celery.  Cook until onions are slightly transparent (about 2 to 3 minutes) on medium-high heat.
3. Add halved tomatoes and half of the red wine that you have reserved for this sauce!  Mix with other vegetables. 
4. After about 4 minutes, add spices.
5. Continue cooking sauce at a low boil until sauce is reduced to half.  Add remaining wine and turbinado sugar.
6. Continue cooking sauce until it is at the preferred thickness.  Sauce should make about 2 glass jars of spaghetti sauce.  Serve with your pasta of choice and add your favorite type of meatballs (whether they are Marie's or Debra's is up to you!)  Bon appetit!

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