I don’t recall when or where I found the lasagna sauce recipe that eventually morphed into this pasta sauce, but it has been pretty popular with some of my friends. Enjoy!
Keith’s pasta sauce
- 1 ½ lbs chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces (Can use turkey or beef, but chicken seems to be the best.)
- 1 medium red onion (Yellow or white onions are fine if that’s what you’ve got, but red onions are milder.)
- 1-1 ½ cups chopped mushrooms (Chop them. Don’t be lazy and get them pre-chopped. Do not chop them too small, either. This is no thin, watery sauce. This is a chucky sauce.)
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped (Get used to chopping, because there’s a bit of it.)
- 1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped (More chopping. I told you so.)
- 1 can black olives, chopped (Get the chopped olives because these little guys are just too difficult to chop.)
- 2 large cans of tomato sauce (It helps to open the cans as the olive oil is heating or sooner. Then you won’t have to mess with them at the same time you’re messing with browning chicken and throwing in other ingredients.)
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 1-1 ½ cups of red wine (For the sauce. Additional wine required by the cook is not accounted for in the recipe, but it does help to have a couple of glasses while the sauce is cooking. Use a wine you would drink, nothing too cheap.)
- 1 table spoon of brown sugar (Helps cut the bitterness that comes with the wine.)
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- 1 teaspoon of rosemary
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed (More if you want.)
- 3-4 bay leaves (Pick large leaves so you can find them afterward. You don’t want to leave them in the sauce.)
- Olive oil
Chop everything ahead of time and open cans and wine bottle. Actually, opening the wine bottle should be the first order of business. Have a sip – or a glass – and only then get to work. Put olive oil in a large pot and heat. Throw in onions once the oil is hot and cook until translucent. Then brown chicken in the pot. Add mushrooms, zucchini, squash and seasoning, including garlic. Sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar and wine go in next. (Put sauce, etc., before the garlic gets too hot. You don’t want burned garlic.) Bring to boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 1-1 ½ hours. Serve over pasta and with garlic bread.
Speaking of garlic bread …
Keith’s garlic bread
- 1 loaf of French bread
- 2 sticks of butter
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed (More if you want more.)
In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add garlic. Warm thoroughly, but do not boil or burn. You do NOT want burned garlic or burned butter. Meanwhile, slice loaf in half lengthwise so that you have the heal and crown separated. (I find that you save hassles and burned fingers later if you lay the halves on their crusts and cross-cut the loaf halves every inch or so, but leaving a bit of the crust attached. This allows you to keep the pieces together, but makes tearing the loaf apart much easier later.) Once the butter is hot, pour into a cookie sheet and lay the loaf face-down in the garlic butter. Cover with a towel and let set while you do the pasta sauce. Turn bread over and broil bread once the sauce is finished and you are about to serve. Warning: I have burned more than a few loafs by broiling the bread. Watch it carefully and pull it out once it is a nice golden color.
Serve with steamed asparagus and lots of freshly grated cheese. Asago is my new favorite for anything Italian, but freshly grated parmesan also works very nicely.
Also, this recipe makes a fairly large quantity. You can freeze some of the extra, send it home with guests or simply invite enough people to finish it off.