Veggie Spaghetti Sauce
In the mood for Italian tonight? Veg out with this homemade spaghetti sauce that's prepared with fresh produce. It's the perfect recipe for meatless Mondays. You'll get a flavorful bang for fewer bucks.
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
In small bowl combine the basil leaves, oregano leaves, anise or fennel seeds and bay leaf; set aside. Prepare the garlic, onion, carrot, bell pepper, celery and zucchini; Set aside. (If you have a food processor, using it will speed things up and be easier. Be careful not to over-process.) In a large cooking pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Cook onions until they begin to soften, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally, to caramelize the onions. This is one of the most important elements of this sauce, it's the source of its rich flavour. Caramelizing onions correctly requires patience, rushing it produces an inferior bitter taste. After 1 hour cooking time, add the carrots and caramelize them together with the onions. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat for one minute, stirring constantly, then add the reserved spice mixture, cooking and stirring for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook about 2 minutes while stirring constantly. Add the remaining prepared vegetables and continue to cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper and the parsley leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 3 to 4 hours. Add the sliced mushrooms to the sauce about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, or if you prefer your mushrooms cooked limp, add during the last 2 hours cooking time. To serve, ladle the sauce over hot cooked pasta and top with a sprinkling with the Parmesan cheese, if desired.