Tomato-Basil Sauce

I still hadn't touched the fresh oregano in my CSA delivery, so I decided to whip up some easy-cheater tomato sauce. This is a great way to get sauce that tastes homemade even outside of tomato season.

If you've never worked with fresh oregano, here's what it looks like:

The leaves and stems are soft and a little fuzzy. To remove the leaves is super easy, you just run your hand against the grain of the stem and they slide right off into your palm. When using fresh herbs you'll want to double the amount of dried you would use - fresh is a much softer, more subtle flavor than dried.

I also had fresh basil on hand:

So we totally know this sauce is going to be awesome. I like some veggies in my sauce, so I diced up onion, bell peppers, and garlic while I sauteed italian gound pork. Dice the herbs very fine - the smaller the pieces the more oils, and therefore flavor, they release. You can also bruise them with your fingers as you drop them into the dish to encourage the release of oils.

When the pork is browned, set aside and drain the excess fat. Throw in the onions and peppers and saute until soft, then add the garlic and herbs. I completely eyeballed the herbs, I have no idea how much I used. But if you're at a loss, just refer to a trusted recipe; if it uses fresh match their quantity, and if they use dried double it.  

Now the cheater part...throw in your favorite pre-made spaghetti sauce :) I have an off-brand tomato sauce from Fred Meyer that I used. I find it tends to make a nice base. Stir it up, add the meat back in, and simmer!

While the sauce was simmering I decided to use up the last of the radishes. I had 4 remaining, and I decided to braise them! Trim the radishes with about 1" of greens remaining. Throw in a small pot with water that just barely covers them. Add a small pat of butter, 1/2 TBS sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the radish, you want them softened but not mushy. Pull the radishes out of the water with a slotted spoon and set aside, then allow the liquid to simmer down to a glaze - another 5 minutes or so, depending on how much liquid is left. Pour over the radishes. 
They was delish. If you don't like radish, try them like this!
Finished sauce over pasta:


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