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Basic Spaghetti Sauce
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Prepare the tomatoes: drop them into a pot of boiling water for about a minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Slip off the skins, cut out the "core", and coarsly chop. Set aside. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add onion and fennel seed. Fry a couple minutes. Add the pepper and garlic and fry a couple more minutes (don't let the precious garlic brown or burn, please!). Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower heat, then simmer for as long as you can (at least an hour), stirring occasionally. I cover the pot loosely when simmering. Notes: You can use fresh herbs for the dried, and it's much better. Just triple the proportions for fresh. You can also add other veggies to the sauce during the simmer phase: carrots (shredded), green chilis (fresh roasted from New Mexico), chopped olives (black or green), sliced mushrooms. You can also add TVP to fool meat eaters: soak 1 c TVP and 1/4 t fennel seed in 7/8 c boiling water for 10 min. Fry the TVP in some olive oil before adding to the sauce. Also, you might want to double or triple this recipe if your tomatoe "shrubs" look like mine :-)
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