Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mom's Spaghetti Sauce and Eggplant Parmigiana

My mom made the best spaghetti sauce ever, at least to me :-). I've made lots of different kinds over the years (Ina Garten's Marinara, Giada's tomato sauce, Mario's quick one) but when I want real, thick, homemade goodness, I turn to Mom's. I do just a couple things different--my own little touches--but more or less, this is Mom's.

Tonight, I served it with Eggplant Parmigiana, which my kids refuse to touch, but I love. So I'll freeze the leftover and have it whenever I'm in the mood for a multi-step dinner :-)

Mom's Spaghetti Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 pound button mushrooms, sliced

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (San Marzanno are the best but tough to find)

2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or about 1 tablespoon fresh)
salt (I use about a teaspoon)

pepper (to taste)

1 tablespoon brown sugar (that's my addition; Mom didn't use the sugar. I think it cuts the acidity of the tomatoes)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Add peppers, onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are softened. Add whole tomatoes, crushing each one in your hand as you put it in (this yields chunkier tomato bits (and tastier, because they've been processed less) than if you use diced), and all other ingredients except sugar. Simmer for up to an hour, tasting and adjusting seasoning as necessary. Add sugar and simmer another 10 minutes.

Eggplant Parmigiana

olive oil

1 eggplant, peeled and sliced thin

3 eggs

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

dash ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I use seasoned)

6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet (enough to coat the bottom thickly). Mix the eggs, Parmesan, garlic powder and pepper in a pie plate or bowl. Put bread crumbs in another. Dredge the eggplant first in eggs, then in bread crumbs, then fry in the olive oil until golden brown on each side. Remove eggplant and let drain on paper towels. I refresh the olive oil after each batch, to keep the frying even.

Spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 13 by 9 baking pan. Lay eggplant in pan, in one layer. Top with more sauce, and sprinkle with mozzarella. Layer another layer of eggplant, sauce and cheese (one eggplant made just two layers for me). Bake at 350 until cheese is golden brown and bubbly--about 20 to 25 minutes.

This was so darn good, I had THREE (!!) servings of the eggplant parm. I couldn't keep myself away from it, LOL. DH is on his second helping. I'm thinking he'll end up having three too :-)



  1. Oh, I can't wait to try this! This looks delicious and I think the brown sugar would cut the acid, too.

    Thanks so much for sharing your mom's recipe. I love it when you do that. I have a special file on my computer for recipes and I think several of yours now. :)

  2. Thanks, Crystal! I've got some fresh tomato sauce recipes, too. Just gotta get around to making them (and taking pictures!) so I can post them.


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