Caroline’s Divine Tomato Sauce

Last year around holiday time, we ventured to our friend Amy’s (The Kind Mama was photographed by her ūüôā ) house and enjoyed lovely company, music, and pasta! The pasta sauce was so delicious… I had to get in touch with Amy’s¬†mom Caroline (an awesome woman, pictured below, who¬†has more style than anyone I’ve ever seen!) to get the recipe. ¬†Thank you Caroline for sharing the recipe and it’s history!!


Red Sauce Spaghetti 

Red sauce spaghetti has been the Christmas Eve dinner in my family since I was 7 years old. ¬†My family suffered through a Swedish white dinner: steamed lutefisk, boiled white potatoes, white sauce, white turnips, white rolls. ¬†All the table linens and china were white. Aunt Mae would walk around and tell us to raise our arm and then poke our armpit and say, ¬†“Eat up! It‚Äôs a sin to waste food.” ¬†We would spit it into our napkin, push up the tablecloth and place the nasty food on a ledge under the table. ¬†The adults got through dinner by consuming lots of vodka.

How excited I was when my parents opted to go to my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Orv’s for Christmas Eve dinner in Denver and they weren’t Swedes. ¬†They weren’t Italian either, but my Aunt Kathy made killer spaghetti and smelling it simmering for hours was pure heaven. ¬†I made an announcement following dinner that I was no longer Swedish, but Italian.

There are many varieties of tomatoes available and they will need to be very ripe the day you want to make the sauce. ¬†The Hollywood Farmer’s market, or any farmers market I’m sure has a great variety and Trader Joe’s has an abundance of cherry tomatoes. ¬†Yellow tomatoes have a great flavor too. ¬†Don’t be afraid to over buy because any left over sauce can be frozen.

Serves 10-12 people

Ingredients (try to buy only organic please)

  • Enough tomatoes to fill a large shopping bag
  • Fennel seeds- I use half a spice bottle if making sauce for 10-12 servings
  • 2 organic tomato pasta sauce in glass jars…store brand fine
  • 3 large brown onions
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 2 whole heads fresh garlic per serving (yes, it’s a lot)
  • Large container olive oil
  • 1¬†cube earth balance¬†butter
  • 3 – 16 oz packages of spaghetti (wheat or rice pasta both taste great) put a splash of olive oil in the water when cooking and it helps prevent sticking
  • Fresh basil or parsley chopped for garnish


  • In a very large stainless steel pan or ceramic pan that can be used on stove top add 1/2 inch of olive oil and¬†earth balance butter
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons fennel seeds and saut√© until fennel seeds change color.
  • Add 3 cups chopped onions and 1 1/2 cups diced celery and saut√© until clear, and then add chopped LOTS of fresh chopped garlic
  • On very low heat continue to saut√© until all is pale brown and sticky. ¬†The kitchen will now smell like heaven!
  • Cut the tomatoes in pieces and slowly keep adding so they can get a bit browned. Turn the heat way down and let it simmer. You might need more olive oil and water if it gets too thick. Don’t use a lid because it will make it steam. ¬†Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add as much tomato sauce as needed to serve 10-12 people and simmer for 45 minutes uncovered.
  • You can make ahead and reheat with no loss of flavor.

Enjoy with a simple green salad, good crusty bread and a good red wine!

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