I grew up making my spaghetti sauce with meat. I always just used my mother’s recipe. When I met my husband 14 years ago he was, and somewhat still is, a vegetarian. No pork, beef or chicken in his sauce. So, I had to learn to make a good sauce, with a lot of flavor.
When I make red sauce it comes out different every time. I like the flavor of the red pepper and tomatoes after they’ve been roasted. I have used canned tomatoes and I occasionally add a small amount of vegetable broth. Use the red wine you like to drink.
You can just increase the ingredients to make a large batch of sauce. Since I’m a make ahead cook I generally make a huge pot and can it for later use. I like to make all my mess at once and have things ready to go at the last minute for dinner.
Line a baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil.
Cut the bell pepper in half and clean out the stem and seeds. Place on the baking sheet and put under the oven broiler until the skin turns black. Remove from oven and wrap foil completely around the pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the tomatoes in half and place cut side down in a dish with sides in the oven. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place a sheet of foil on top to keep the steam in. When cool enough to handle gently peel the skins away. Chop into pieces.
Now that the pepper has cooled peel the blackened skin off and chop into pieces.
Do not discard the juices from the pepper and tomatoes.
Heat the oil in a heavy duty medium saucepan. Add the chopped onion and saute ove medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes and peppers and their juices.
Stir in the red wine, oregano, crushed red pepper, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. If you want a smoother sauce use the immersion blender or a kitchen blender to the desired consistency.
Add the freshly chopped basil just before serving.
Turn heat to simmer and cook for about an hour. Taste it and season to your liking. Serve over pasta, use as pizza sauce, or serve with gnocchi.
Source: Sharon E. Russell