Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce

This recipe is an amalgam of my own experience making quick tomato sauce and a few recipes I found online for using the slow-cooker for the task. I wanted a large batch of sauce so that I could use some to cook meatball and still have the majority be plain tomato sauce.

Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce
Servings: ~8 cups of sauce
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 6.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, small dice (this was 2 medium onions for me)
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 29 oz. can Hunts Tomato Sauce
  • 4 15 oz. cans Hunts diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used Coppola Rosso Red Table Wine)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fine-ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili pepper flake
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • chiffonade of fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except oregano, butter and basil in your slow cooker insert. I used the wine to thin out the tomato paste, making it easier to incorporate the paste into the sauce.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Stir occasionally. Remove the cover and continue to cook on low for another 3 hours. If the sauce appears to be drying out re-cover. There’s more liquid in there than you realize.
  3. Remove 3 cups of sauce to a blender and puree. Return pureed sauce to the pot. Add oregano and butter, stir to combine.
  4. Add fresh chopped basil to the finished sauce.

Notes:
I have a pet-peeve around recipes that list a generic item, such as red wine, when they could be more specific. There are only about 3 bazillion different red wines in the world. You could at least give a hint what basic category you used in your version of the recipe. I may not be able to find a “Merriam Vineyards 2008 Windacre Cabernet Franc” but I can at least find a nice Cabernet sauvignon or a basic red table wine if you tell me that is what you used.

Caramelized onion, Bacon and Spinach Pizza

We had some caramelized onions left over from dinner last weekend and I got it in my head that they should go on a pizza. After a bit of digging through the Internet I decided to add some spinach and bacon. I couldn’t decide whether to use a sauce, and if I sauced what kind to use. In the end I opted for no sauce. The result was tasty and filling.

[caramelized onion pizza]

Recipe under the cut

An aside about caramelizing onions

I am making some caramelized onions as part of dinner tonight and had time to take a few pictures along the way. I thought I’d share them with you so you have an idea of exactly how long it takes to do the job properly.

While I started with 5 pounds of onions in the photos I’ve had it take basically the same amount of time to do it with 1 onion.

caramelized onions @ 0 minutes

Raw onions to be caramelized.

caramelized onions @ 20 minutes

20 minutes into making caramelized onions.

caramelized onions @ 30 minutes

30 minutes into making caramelized onions.

caramelized onions @ 40 minutes

40 minutes into making caramelized onions.

caramelized onions @ 50 minutes

Finished caramelized onions (at 50 minutes).

At the end we ended up with about 3 cups of caramelized onions. The final weight was about 1 1/2 pounds.

Caramelized Onions

We caramelize onions using a method demonstrated by Alton Brown in the Good Eats episode “A Bowl of Onion”. Since his show has ended it’s run on Food Network I thought I would jot down the recipe here in case they pull it from the site.

Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds sweet onions (like Vidalias) or a combination of sweet and red onions
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Trim the stem end of the onion and remove the skin. Using a mandolin cut the onions into 1/8″ slices (aka rings). If you don’t have a mandolin then cut the onion in half stem to root and cut half moon slices.
  2. Heat an electric skillet to 300°F. Add butter and melt. Cover the bottom of the skillet with melted butter.
  3. Add a layer of onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat layering onions and salt until all onions are in the skillet.
  4. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Do not try to stir during this period; just let the onions start to reduce in volume.
  5. Stir occasionally until onions are dark mahogany and reduced to approximately 2 cups. This should take 45 minutes to 1 hour.

We typically serve caramelized onions along with sour cream along side perogis, succotash and some type of pork product.