My girls call me Momma. I doubt Tammy’s boyfriend Mike remembers, but he actually started it. He is a great cook and a foodie at heart too. We love to ‘fight’ in the kitchen at holiday time. He hugged me tightly one Christmas (in the kitchen of course) and said, “Momma, this is the best Christmas I have ever had!” I cried a little. 😉 So when I refer to Momma, that’s me.
When the girls were little I made spaghetti and meatballs with the dullest ingredients. Generic store brand pasta and a jar of the same brand “spaghetti sauce.” Until I decided there must be a better way. I started buying tomato puree and making my own sauce from the puree and my own ’embellishments.” By the time the girls got to college, Momma Sauce had become a family favorite.
I remember one fall, both girls at UB in Buffalo, Tammy’s birthday was going to be all too sad and quiet. Her sister called us and convinced us to make it a great surprise. We took a day off of work ~ her birthday was a Thursday that year ~ and drove up after work to surprise her. Courtney had her at her favorite restaurant, which seemed a lovely enough gesture to make the birthday more cheerful. Then we walked in and blew her away. In my hot little hands I had a cooler. Tammy looked at it and yelled “Momma sauce!” And she clapped. How did she know!? LOL
Momma sauce was a pot of tomato puree and one can of paste for consistency, with the following: salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, onion powder and garlic powder. Oh and the secret ingredient, sugar. A little sugar makes the tomatoes more delicious and cuts the acidity. Now I would make it and put it in small containers so away at college, it could be frozen and brought out to enjoy when Momma wasn’t there. Food is love.
This morning I put a pot of Momma sauce on the stove when hubby left for work. In this ‘evolved’ sauce was the following: a pound of ground beef, one can each of diced tomatoes, whole plum tomatoes, and fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste (I used the tube paste now.), beef broth, seasonings, herbs and spices.
First put the ground beef in the pot, break it up and season. I use a meat mix I make myself to start. I use this on every meat so I make it and keep it ready: kosher salt, ground pepper and garlic powder. So those three to start. Then I add the flavor four: parsley, oregano, basil and dill. Cook until nicely browned.
Add the tomatoes now and stir. let this cook on medium to med-high heat until the tomatoes are warmed through and beginning to get to know your meat. The flavors in the meat are introduced to the tomatoes … Hello tomatoes! When it is ready (half hour or so) you will begin to smell it so don’t ignore the nose! Regardless of time, the nose knows. So go stir the mix, add about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. The tube is great because you can use what you need and not try to figure out what to do with the rest of the can. And I add one small can of beef broth. Use low sodium broth so you can control the flavor. The broth and paste will give the sauce girth and depth of flavor. Mix and lower the heat to medium and allow to simmer another half hour or so. At this point I actually take a potato masher to the sauce! It mashes the now softened tomatoes and makes them small but still allows the sauce to be hearty. Cover and lower the heat again to a simmer. I will allow the simmer to go on for a few hours … low and slow.
At this point let me tell you that this pot of Momma Sauce is for dinner tomorrow. Yep. Tomorrow’s sauce will be more delicious because I made it today. So tomorrow I will warm enough sauce for dinner. When I do I will taste again and add any flavors that make it even more delicious! This pot will probably make two or three meals for the two of us. Make pasta, throw on some cheese and dinner is served.
Mmm … Momma Sauce!