Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two great spaghetti sauces for crowds

My column Wednesday is on cooking spaghetti sauce for a couple of hundred people for my church's annual spaghetti supper, a fundraiser for our youth group.

Just in case you happen to need a really large amount of spaghetti sauce -- 18 gallons or so, although that's just an approximate -- here are the recipes for both the meat sauce and the vegetable sauce. I inherited the meat sauce recipe from the last volunteer sauce cooker; I made up the vegetable sauce a couple of years ago when we added it at the last minute.

It helps if you have access to industrial equipment, such as a large steam-kettle cooker.

Large-Batch Spaghetti Sauce

60 pounds ground beef (6 10-lb rolls, fine-grind)

About 30 pounds diced onions

5 to 10 pounds sliced mushrooms

About 5 pounds diced green pepper

Vegetable or olive oil

About 3 cups minced garlic

2 quarts beef broth

6 (6-lb, 9-oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained (save juice in case sauce gets too thick)

2 (6-lb., 9-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes

2 bottles dry red wine, such as Malbec, Cabernet or Sangiovese

About 1/4 cup dried oregano

About a dozen bay leaves

1 (1-pound) box corn starch

Salt and sugar to taste

Open rolls of beef and place in an industrial cooker with heat on medium. Begin breaking up meat and turning constantly to brown it.

Saute onions, mushrooms and green peppers in skillets with a little vegetable oil to soften. Add vegetables to meat as it browns. Stir in minced garlic (start with 1 cup and add more as needed.)

When meat is completely brown and vegetables have been added, add beef broth, diced and crushed tomatoes, wine, oregano and bay leaves.

Stir continuously with flat paddle, making sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the cooker to keep sauce from sticking and burning. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady simmer.

Sprinkle in cornstarch slowly, stirring constantly so it doesn’t clump. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Cook 1 to 2 hours longer, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and let sauce cool about 30 minutes.

Divide sauce up among large hotel pans, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill until time to reheat for service.

Large-Batch Vegetable Sauce

5 to 10 pounds onions, peeled and diced

About 2 pounds green pepper, cored, seeded and diced

About 3 to 4 pounds carrots, scraped and diced

About 5 pounds sliced mushrooms

Vegetable or olive oil

About 1 cup minced garlic

2 (6-lb., 9-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes

1 to 2 large cans tomato sauce

Dried basil, oregano and parsley to taste

Salt, sugar to taste

Saute onions, green pepper, carrots and mushrooms until slightly softened and combine in pot.

Add garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasonings. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Cook about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Cool briefly, place in hotel pans, cover tightly with plastic wrap, label and chill. Reheat before serving.


The Professor said...

On the cornstarch--it works better if you take some of that cool leftover tomato juice & dissolve the cornstarch in that to make a slurry, and then stir the slurry into the hot sauce. A lot less clumping. Learned this in the Italian restaurant I worked in as a teen.

Kathleen Purvis said...

Thanks, Professor. And normally, I would agree with you on making a slurry. But I have to say that in this case, simply stirring it in slowly works fine and is a lot faster.

Sweet Potato said...
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