This is quite a yummy recipe, and if you're anything like me, you're looking for more ways to get veggies in to your children's (and yours!) stomach. I found it in a parenting magazine, and credit the recipe to Jamie Oliver, the British chef who is trying to change America, one school at a time.
The Best Tomato Sauce Ever (His words! - my thoughts will be italicized)
Prep your veggies:
peel 2 small onions
trim 1 small leek (wash thoroughly to remove all sand)
trim 2 stalks of celery
halve and de-seed 2 red bell peppers
(I add garlic - I used 3 cloves, but I think it needs more)
-Roughly chop all of these
Use the coarse side of a box grater and grate 2 zucchinis and 2 carrots
(I recommend, if you have one, a food processor, since you'll want to use it later on the butternut squash - may as well get on dirty on this...)
-Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add all your veggies, a large pinch of dried oregano (I also included basil) and 2 bay leaves. Cook slowly, with a lid, stirring occasionally, til the veggies are soft but not starting to brown.
(I would definitely add sea salt to these to help them sweat as well as add flavor. In fact, I would add sea salt with every addition to help maintain seasoning. Also, use sea salt instead of table salt so you add flavor without the sodium. I would also recommend that after the veggies start to soften, you take off the lid to let excess moisture evaporate, as my finished product was a little too runny for my [our] tastes.)
While the veggies start to cook down, peel 1 small butternut squash, then carefully cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Coarsely grate the flesh and add to the saucepan (with sea salt). Allow to cook down.
At this point, I absolutely had to transfer everything to my huge stock pot, as my pans and regular pots were waaaay too small.
Add 4 (14.5 oz) cans of plum tomatoes with juice, 2 cups of water, a pinch of sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft. Take the pan off the heat, spoon out the bay leaves, and let the sauce cool before blitzing with a stick blender until smooth (I was so excited that I finally had an excuse to purchase one!!)
The recipe says it makes 13 cups, but I got a solid 18 out of it. I also found that, though the stick blender was AWESOME, it didn't bring a texture my 19 month old son wished to eat, so I still need to blend the sauce further to correct the texture. As I stated, though, I saved a large container for dinner that week, and froze 3 baggies of it (4 cups in each) to use later in the year.
My only recommendation would be to add protein (tofu, chicken, beef, whichever you like), taste it again as it warms up (sometimes freezing can affect flavor and you may need more herbs or salt), and make sure the texture and consistency is to your liking.
I also think that the next time I actually cook this recipe, I will add frozen spinach, for more greens, and possibly reduce the # of peppers, or alter the type, as I found, personally, that this had a rather heavy pepper taste to it. But then again, I'm not huge on peppers.
Also note that this can be used as stock for roasts, as a base for soups and stews, and since it can be frozen, you will always have a basis for healthy meals for your family! Yay! Please tell me when you try it so we can share our experiences and tips. Enjoy!