Sunday, September 25, 2011

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Looking over the recipes I've posted so far, I sure do use my slow cooker a lot, don't I?! I can't help it, it's so convenient. This is the one I have. One of the reasons I love it is that it has 3 size crocks: 2 quart, 4 quart and 6 quart. You need to use the right sized crock for what you're making or it won't cook right, so this is extremely convenient. You can even pair together the big crock and the smallest one to make a water bath for cooking oatmeal overnight. I first saw it at Wal Mart a couple years ago but couldn't justify buying it because the one I had still worked. When that one bit the dust I practically squealed with joy :oD

I pretty much only use the big 6 quart crock for three things: chili, apple butter, and this spaghetti sauce. Every once in a while I make huge vats of chili and spaghetti sauce and then freeze it for later. We haven't purchased a jar of spaghetti sauce since I started doing it this way! I do like Prego, but I'm pretty sure that's only because it's what my dad always used when I was growing up. The other brands don't do it for me. Regardless, my homemade spaghetti sauce is definitely better. It is the thick, hearty, delicious result of much experimentation with cooking spaghetti sauce and I'm happy to say I created the recipe. It happens to be vegetarian and can be easily made vegan if you leave out the butter. Even if you're a meat lover I don't think you'll be disappointed. And don't fear the carrots! They get chopped up pretty small in the food processor and add texture and a bit of sweetness, but you can't even really see them when the sauce is done cooking.

Quick note: I buy store brand of most things, but to me there's a huge difference between store brand canned tomatoes and good quality ones. I use DeLallo canned tomatoes for this, which are very flavorful and don't need any added salt. You can use whatever brand you want but you may need to add salt to the sauce if you use another brand.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 bunch fresh parsley, stems removed (can use the whole bunch)
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
1 large onion, peeled and chopped roughly
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
2 12 oz cans tomato paste
1 1/2 C red wine
2 T brown sugar
3 1/2 t dried basil
2 1/2 t dried oregano
1 1/2 t dried thyme
1 1/2 t dried rosemary
1 t pepper
salt to taste (optional)
1 stick butter (optional)

Mince the parsley in a food processor, then the carrots, then the onion and garlic. Add to the crock of a 6 quart slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients except the butter and salt and stir well to combine. Cover and turn heat to high until the sauce comes to a boil, about 1 hour. Remove lid and cover with a splatter screen. This step is important if you don't want little orange dots on everything in a 6 foot radius! Cook the sauce for 5 more hours, stirring occasionally. Veggies should be tender and sauce should be rich and thick. Stir in butter and salt if desired.

Yield: 24 servings. Freeze some!

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