Spicy Tomato Sauce

05aSpicySaucebfLOWe were expecting friends for a day of IKEA furniture assembly help (lots of drawers and fiddly bits), and I wanted to offer them a nice dinner in thanks.

Hmmm, pasta and shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce? Yeah, that’ll do.

Then, one of the couple got sick and had to reschedule. Oh, well, the bedroom furniture, and the shrimp, would just have to wait.

But, not the sauce, I think.

01aTomatoesBasilWInebfLOThe sauce sounded as tho’ it’d be just the thing for another recipe I wanted to try, so I gathered my ingredients, and got to work.

•Olive oil
•1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
•2 tsp minced fresh garlic
•1/2 cup diced carrot
•3/4 cup diced red onion (about 1/2 of one)
•1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
•1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
•1/2 cup torn fresh basil
•1 tsp sugar (optional)

Note: none of our markets had fresh basil, so I substituted two tablespoons of fresh basil paste from those tubes they have in the produce section.

02bVeggiesSauteedbfLOFull disclosure: I actually added four tablespoons of the basil paste, but think that was just a bit much – and I love basil. More better to start with two tablespoons (if you need (or choose) to use the paste) and then add more later, if you think it needs it.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.

Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and 1/4 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook, stirring, about five minutes.

04aAddTomatoesBasilbfLOAdd the wine and continue to cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about two minutes.

Add the tomatoes, basil, the remaining red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Cook, stirring, until slight thickened (about five minutes), then give it a taste.

Nice – a touch heavy on the basil, and with a very zippy, spicy bite.

06aTurkeyParmMeatloafbfLOI like a slightly sweet marinara, and had hoped that the carrots would be enough to sweeten the sauce, but I thought it could still use a bit of help (mebbe it was all that basil), so I added one teaspoon of sugar and let it cook for another few minutes.

Taste again (nice!) then reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for 20 more minutes.

This sauce will be killer with shrimp over pasta, but was also very nice when combined with ground turkey and mozzarella to make a turkey Parmesan meatloaf.

Interesting – and tasty! – details to come…


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