Chef Boyardee is not for me.
Now, I’m no Giada understudy, but I have red sauce rules: red sauce shouldn’t taste like laboratory paste/ tomatoes don’t need sugar.
Did you know ½ a cup of Prego Fresh Mushroom Italian Sauce has 11 grams of sugar? 11 grams of sugar! That’s equivalent to the sugar used to make a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut. I’d rather the donut, thank you.
Sugar’s deviant aliases sucrose, glucose, maltose, lactose, fructose, corn syrup, white grape juice concentrate and evaporated cane juice are also used to sweeten (kill) sauces discretely. Keep this nasty “oses” hit list in hand when grocery shopping.
Prego breaks the rules. In fact, most store-bought pasta sauces do. Heart-burn inducing, blood sugar-spiking, love handle-augmenting, entrée-ruining, store-bought red sauce. Bolognese my butt—“beefaroni” is an Italian mystery I care to never solve.
If these “sauces” have won you over with their convenience, have you ever considered how convenient it is to make your own sauce in 30 minutes? And the convenience of knowing exactly what you’re putting in your body rather than inconveniently relying on food labels as confusing as my chemistry homework?
THOU SHALL NOT BUY PASTA SAUCE. This isn’t a red sauce revolution—this is canned tomato common sense.
Remember when I said I wasn’t a Giada understudy? Well, Erin—Grant’s sister who spent some time in Italy—might be close. She taught me how to make this authentic tomato sauce—a recipe she inherited from her extended time in Florence. And you know Huckleberries don’t earn their name by following rules. I don’t lie, steal or cheat, but I do lace perfectly innocent recipes with chipotles. Smokey, sultry, rosy chipotles sleeping in seductive adobo.
This authentic fusion is loud. R.I.P Bertolli.
Huckleberry Thinn’s Chipotle Red Sauce
In a deep, lightly oiled sauce pot, cook 1 chopped onion slowly on low heat > When the onion starts to sweat (translucent, not brown), add 6 cloves of chopped garlic > Sauté until soft > Uncap 2 15-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes (I like San Marzano!) and one by one, squeeze these little suckers into a palatable tomato pulp (best part!) > Pour in remaining tomato juice > Bring sauce to boil, let it dance for a few minutes, then reduce to a low-heat simmer (uncovered) to undress natural flavors.
Camouflage with spices: tablespoon full of fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon of dried Mexican oregano) a dash of thyme (fresh if you’ve got it) > Add pepper and a spoonful of honey.
Now it gets feisty: add 2-3 chipotle chilies, finely chopped (chipotle chilies in adobo sauce) > stain your sauce with 2 tablespoons of adobo > Simmer for ~30 minutes for deep, complex Mexitalian essence.
Serve chunky, or for a lush finish (preferred), blend sauce before serving.
Don’t limit this homemade tomato sauce to pasta. Use this diabolical dream to dress up pizza, portabellas, spaghetti squash, eggplant, chicken, grilled shrimp, lasagna or simply grilled veggies and quinoa. I’ve even used it to stuff peppers. Devine. Red looks good on everyone. Freeze leftovers for a February date night (with red wine, of course).
Nutrition Facts: Thinn Style
Tomatoes are plump with nutrients your body needs. They are bursting with vitamin C, carotenes (lycopene!), biotin, and vitamin K. There’s more! Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, folic acid and dietary fiber.
Tomatoes earn their top table-top position with their oozing levels of lycopene. Red carotene is your best friend. It is extremely protective of you—especially against breast, colon, lung, skin and prostate cancers. Tomatoes have also proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts and macular degeneration. How? Lycopene neutralizes harmful agents before they can damage cellular structures.
The best part: You actually get up to five times as much lycopene from canned tomatoes as you do from the raw kind. Processing tomatoes liberates more lycopene from the plant cells, making it more available to your body when digested.