Lasagna a la Française Tomato Sauce

01bRedSaucebfLOI should have written earlier – I saw Julia Child make this lasagna on PBS back in the 70’s or 80’s; found the recipe in a friend’s cookbook, tried it and loved it; and then misplaced the recipe – for which I can only say ‘ALL PRAISE DA GOOGLE’ when I went searching for it recently. This recipe is credited to ‘Betty’ – so thanks Betty! I’ve made a few changes, which I’ll note.

The Tomato Sauce – as I noted in the opening Lasagna post – is now my favorite tomato sauce – fast, simple, and tasty. I think it would work as well for spaghetti and meatballs – maybe I’d add some crushed red pepper – or as a base for any other red sauce you like. Try it and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

•1 cup minced onions – I just chopped them well (after cooking, save aside 1/2 for the velouté sauce)
•2 tbsp olive oil
•2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced, and chopped
•1 #1 can (2 cups) Italian plum tomatoes – I used 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes with celery and green peppers and 1 small can of Hunt’s tomato sauce
•1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning – or 1/4 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 bay leaf
•1 or 2 large cloves garlic, pureed – I just smashed ‘em up really well
•Big pinch saffron threads – didn’t have, didn’t use, didn’t miss
•1/4 teaspoon dried orange peel – you HAVE to do this – tho’ I just grated some fresh rind into the sauce
•Salt and pepper

Cook the onions and oil in a 2 quart covered sauce pan, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned – 6 to 8 minutes. (Remember to save half the onions for later the velouté)

OK – this part I avoided because of the tomatoes I used – I’m leaving it in in case you want to go this way:  Stir in the fresh tomatoes, cover, and cook slowly several minutes. Drain the canned tomatoes, and sieve about 1 cup of the pulp into the fresh tomatoes.

Stir in the herbs, garlic, saffron, orange peel, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer slowly, partially covered, for 30 minutes at least, adding a little juice from the canned tomatoes if sauce becomes too thick.

I added the canned tomatoes and the small can of tomato sauce to the onions, then added the garlic and spices, grated the orange peel into the pot and simmered for 30 minutes.  This sauce tasted really, really good, even at this point!

While sauce is simmering, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Or, as they say on late-night TeeVee; ‘But wait, there’s more!’…

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