20 June, 2016

Test! Betty's Raisin Spaghetti Sauce Copycat

Please note: This is a test. This recipe is not ready for general use. We are attempting to reconstruct a lost but favorite family recipe. Kindly check back for updates. Please post any suggestions below in Comments.


Test! Betty's Raisin Spaghetti Sauce Copycat ingredients
Makes about 1-quart
[Test 2 Tbsp butter vs. 1/4 cup vegetable or extra-virgin olive oil]
1 yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
[Test 1 tsp to 3 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves vs. 1 Tbsp dried]
2 (28-oz) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
[Test 1 cup dark raisins]
[Test 0.5-oz to 2.0-oz apple cider vinegar vs. white vinegar vs, red wine vinegar]
[Test 1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed vs. 1/2 medium carrot, finely grated]
2 bay leaves
[Test zero to 3/4 tsp ground black pepper]
[Test 1/4 to 1.5 tsp] Kosher salt plus 2 Tbsp more for cooking pasta

For serving
Spaghetti, cooked al dente
Grated Parmesan, (optional)


Test! Betty's Raisin Spaghetti Sauce Copycat Directions
Get ready
Assemble ingredients and equipment.


Sauté aromatics (see Notes)
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over Medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and translucent, about eight (8) minutes. Add the thyme [and carrot, if using], and cook five (5) minutes more [, until the carrot is quite soft].


Prepare sauce
Add the tomatoes and juice, raisins, vinegar, brown sugar, and black pepper; bring to a boil, stirring often. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Then, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for thirty (30) minutes, stirring occasionally.

Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm over spaghetti.


Cook pasta
When ready to serve, fill a pot with about 6-quarts of cold water for the pasta. Place the pot over High heat and bring the water to a boil.

When the pasta water is boiling, add 2 Tbsp kosher salt and the spaghetti to the boiling water. Stir until all the pasta is submerged. Following package directions, cook until al dente.


Toss pasta with sauce and serve
When the pasta is cooked, drain well. Toss pasta with the sauce and the breadcrumbs and serve immediately.


Test! Betty's Raisin Spaghetti Sauce Copycat Notes
  • Inspired by dish created by my sister-in-law, Betty, in the late 1960s. Betty served tomato raisin sauce over spaghetti with a tossed salad.
    • She used whole dark raisins, not chopped or puréed. 
    • As I recall, her sauce was smooth and savory, sweetened by the raisins, and neither overly sweet nor sweet-and-sour.
    • The sauce was thick and well-seasoned, but not spicy.

  • Given the era in which she originated the recipe, my first guess is Betty used vegetable oil for any sauté, canned tomato sauce and/or tomato paste, and possibly apple cider vinegar. Other than dark raisins, the actual ingredients she used are unknown.

  • Alternatively for the aromatics, follow Anne Burrell method and purée one large onion, one large carrot, two organic celery ribs and two or three garlic cloves to a coarse paste and cook in oil over Medium heat until they become very soft and aromatic and are starting to turn brown, about eight to ten (8 to 10) minutes. 

  • This copycat draft inspired, in part, by Mario Batali. "Basic Tomato Sauce." FoodNetwork.com. Television Food Network G.P. n.d. Web. 19 Jun. 2016. < http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/basic-tomato-sauce-recipe12.html >.

  • This copycat draft inspired, in part, by Ina Garten, "Stuffed Cabbage." FoodNetwork.com. Television Food Network G.P. 2006. Web. 19 Jun. 2016. < http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/stuffed-cabbage-recipe.html >.

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