Aunt Betty's Spaghetti Sauce

Just because I need a change of pace once in awhile.

Once when I was home visiting mom, I took her to a church spaghetti supper where we met up with her sister, my beloved Aunt Betty. This was at a time when I still couldn't really eat anything with onion in it, without immediately getting a migraine. Of course, the spaghetti sauce for the church dinners was chock full of onion. No problem, I said, you ladies enjoy your dinners and I will get something to eat later.

This was not acceptable to Aunt Betty.

She went into the church kitchen and whipped up a spaghetti sauce just for me. And it was DELICIOUS! This is how she made it.

3 T. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
2 pats of butter

Saute the garlic in the olive oil and butter until just golden

Add 1 can Hunt's tomato paste (Aunt Betty insisted on Hunt's. You can try others. I'm just telling you what Aunt Betty said.)
Add 2 cans of water

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add parsley (Aunt Betty used dried, but she said of course fresh parsley is delightful.)

Cook down to "right consistency". Don't put a lid on it.

And there you have it. If you are home some evening with a box of pasta and a can of tomato paste and bulb of garlic and don't know what the heck to have for dinner, you can make Aunt Betty's tomato sauce. It will not give you a migraine.

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Tomato sauce without onion! FULL OF WIN!

What size of can for the tomato paste?

By Eric Juve (not verified) on 12 Jun 2010 #permalink

I believe she used the small can. But that seems like a lot of oil and butter...yet, I am pretty sure that neither she nor my mom ever bought tomato paste in any size but the little cans.

Zuska, Thanks, I am going to try it tomorrow. My normal sauce has many times more ingredients and usually takes a couple of hours to prepare, on top of costing quite a bit more of course.

By Eric Juve (not verified) on 12 Jun 2010 #permalink

I used to make this recipe with a few dashes of Spatini (no longer in stores, grrrrrrrrr), but now I do Simply Organic seasoning. I'm certain your aunt meant the little 6oz cans of paste.

Interesting. Garlic gives me monster migranes. I can take it in small amounts but strong garlic puts me out of action for days.

Yes, it was the 6 oz. cans, jc. Oh lord, if garlic had given me migraines too along with the onion, there would have been nothing left for me to eat except plain white rice. I think I would have lost my mind. My condolences, wrpd.

Eric, let me know how the sauce comes out!

jc -Simply Organic all-purpose seasoning is my new favorite thing. Basically just crushed up dried yummy stuff..onions (for those that eat it), celery, tomato, pepper...so delicious on pasta and potatoes and popcorn. Everything. Yum!

As a super-taster, I declare onions a big no-no.

And as an old, lifelong bachelor, who's done a lot of experimental cooking, I can also say that the KISS principle applies to a lot of dishes. This is a case in point. My recipe for spag sauce, it turns out, is near identical to Aunt Betty's. I use oregano instead of parsley, and that's the only difference.
Hunts tomato paste is indeed the best. The generics tend to be less sweet and more acidic. You can compensate for this by adding a spoonful of sugar per small can.

By Frank Habets (not verified) on 13 Jun 2010 #permalink

MMMMM, and finally, a recipe that uses an ENTIRE can of tomato paste! It's worth trying for that, alone! Usually it's: "2 T tomato paste" (and then what? Throw the can away?)

Thank goodness for tubes o' tomato paste.

Wow, what a digression. Sorry.

By tinfoil hattie (not verified) on 14 Jun 2010 #permalink

One of my friends just found out that her tummy issues were due to onions, and lots of other things, but I've been struggling to find her a pasta sauce that had flavor and no onion. Thank you!

Hey tinfoil hattie- I heard that there is tomato paste in a squeeze tube like tooth paste. So you don't have to chuck it out, you can just keep it in the fridge.

That's what I mean, skepti, by "tubes o' tomato paste." They are so cool! There's also sundried tomato paste, and tubes o' basil. Haven't tried the basil ones yet.

By tinfoil hattie (not verified) on 14 Jun 2010 #permalink

I love tubes of tomato paste! You can also get pesto in a tube, and garlic paste. I've seen the tubes o' basil in the market, but so far have not tried it (unless you count the pesto). I am never without a tube of anchovy paste in the fridge--it's the secret ingredient in many things I make.

Still, if you have a partial can of tomato paste, try one of my faves: bagel with cream cheese and tomato paste. MMMmmmmm!

@wrpd: Here's a garlic-free (but oniony) variant:
28oz caned tomatoes (whatever kind you want, whole, diced, crushed)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter.
1 small onion, cut in half on the hemisphere.

Put everything in a pot over medium heat. You want the onion halves down in the tomatoes. Cook until thick. (Maybe 20 minutes?) Sir occasionally. Take out onion (and compost). Eat.
(From Smitten Kitchen)

By JustaTech (not verified) on 15 Jun 2010 #permalink

My mother always used a whole (little) can of tomato paste AND two of the little cans of tomato sauce. Is that weird? I'm not seeing anyone else mention tomato sauce.

I also wonder if we're the only ones in the world who brown hamburger with garlic and onion and then add everything else to the sauce instead of making separate meatballs.

that's so funny that she specified Hunt's. My Grandma told me a similar recipe and said "whatever you do, don't use Hunt's"

re: what to do with the rest of a can of tomato paste: Blob it out by the tablespoon onto wax paper or plastic wrap on a plate or cookie sheet, freeze it and pop it in a plastic bag, and back into the freezer. (America's Test Kitchen) The only downside is that it takes its own sweet time thawing.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

I made Aunt Betty's spaghetti sauce last night, with garlic and parsley from my garden. Didn't have Hunt's tomato paste on hand, but rather Cento - in any case, the sauce was delicious. I don't get migraines, but onions give me heartburn sometimes (more often now that I'm middle-aged ... ugh); nice to have a garlicky alternative.

Cooking is one of my favorite methods of relaxation and who doesn't love a good bowl of spaghetti? As a fellow migraine sufferer, I had not considered food to be a trigger for my episodes. I am adding garlic and onion to my "caution" list, does anyone else have experience with migraine "trigger" foods?

Thanks in advance!