There are several reasons to make your own spaghetti sauce:
- You want all the ingredients to be pronounceable
- To avoid added sugar (No, really! Check the label…on Prego it’s ingredient #3.)
- You’re too cheap to spend $3+ a jar, or more for the fancy stuff
- Need sauce to fuel your pasta/homemade pizza addiction
- It cooks itself in the crock pot overnight
- Garden is overrun with fresh herbs
- Just because you can
As you know, all of these reasons apply to me. And the very first batch was a success! Sometimes I need to try a recipe a few times before it turns out right, but this was tasty right off the bat.
The part that makes it cheating easy is that we’ll use canned tomatoes. If you’ve ever spent an afternoon skinning, de-seeding, and cooking down fresh tomatoes, you’ll know why canned tomatoes are a godsend here. There’s no shame in this shortcut!
6 cloves or more garlic
2 large onions
1 cup raw baby carrots (adds sweetness)
1/4 cup olive oil
#10 can chopped tomatoes (12 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup or more finely chopped basil
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Finely chop your garlic, onions, and baby carrots. We like smooth sauce, so I use my chopper-majigger to get everything minced nice and fine. They’ll disappear into the sauce and you’ll get the flavor without the lumps.
Saute the garlic, onions, and carrots in the olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add them to the crock pot along with all the other ingredients.
Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 hours. You can see from the “sauce ring” that it cooks down quite a bit.
The tomatoes will soften and break down while cooking. If the sauce is still too lumpy after several hours, zip it with your stick blender to desired consistency.
Cool, divide into jars, and freeze. I ended up with 11 cups of sauce, which equals about 5 jars of store-bought.
Oh, and the cost breakdown? If nothing else, let this convince you. An average price around here for Prego Traditional, 24oz, is $3.59 ($0.15 per ounce). Mama’s crockpot sauce? Since I got the garlic, parsley, and basil from the garden, the entire batch cost $4.75–or FIVE CENTS per ounce. Cha-ching and yum!!