Sunday, November 20, 2011

Moosewood Spaghetti

This has been the kids' favorite spaghetti sauce for years. I think Phil gave it the name "Moosewood Spaghetti". It is actually called "Italian Tomato Sauce" and comes from Molly Katzen's "Moosewood Cookbook". She also has a Marinara variation and I have made up a Tofu and meat variation, all included below.
The recipe serves 6-8. I always double it with the intention of freezing half but I have yet to be able to do that. Phil, you'll have to let us know if the Italians have a better recipe than this one!

3 Tbs. olive oil                                          1 1-lb.,13 oz. can tomatoes
2 cups chopped onion                                1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 medium sized bell pepper, diced               1 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. basil                                               lots of black pepper
1 tsp. oregano                                          6 cloves garlic, minced 
1 tsp. thyme                                             1/2 cup freshly minced 
1 1/2 tsp. salt                                           parsley

*1 lb Tofu, dried (see below - this takes extra time but provides a "meatier texture") and cubed 
** 1 lb. ground turkey or half turkey/half beef if you want a meat sauce (see notes below)

1) Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or kettle.  Add onion, bell pepper, herbs, and salt, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is very soft. (8 to 10 minutes.) 
2) Add the dry, cubed tofu and cook until it is sticking a bit on the bottom. If possible, try to lightly brown it, stirring from time to time. If you're not using tofu, skip to step 3. 
3) Add tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and black pepper. (I like to blend the tomatoes into a liquid in the blender. If you like chunky spaghetti sauce, break up the tomatoes into bite sized pieces.) Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 - 45 minutes.
4) Add garlic, and cook about 10 minutes more.  At this point, the sauce can sit for up to several hours, or be refrigerated for up to a week.  Heat gently before serving, and add parsley at the last minute.

This sauce will coat at least 1 lb. spaghetti noodles.

* To dry the tofu: Drain it. Turn it on its side and cut 4 equal slabs on each block, making 8 slabs total. Set it on newspaper topped with paper towel for the initial drain. 
Get out the rest of your ingredients. Now take the partially drained tofu slabs and put them on fresh paper towel (and more newspaper if the first is already wet) and lay a clean towel on top. Put a large heavy cutting board on top of the towel and tofu slabs and canned goods equal to at least 8 lbs. Let it sit to dry. Drier tofu makes for a "meatier" texture. For best results, try to do this an hour before adding it to the sautéed vegetables. After it is dry, cube it.

** If you want a meat sauce, use only 1 Tbs. oil and cook the meat until it is nice and brown. Do this FIRST and then proceed to Step 1, adding no extra oil to sauté the vegetables. 

2 medium stalks celery, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, chopped
1-2 medium (6 inch) zucchini, diced
2-3 medium sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Add with Step 1. Sauté until all vegetables are very tender.

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