Tomato sauce with (or without) red wine

When I buy a package of carrots or celery for a recipe, the left-over tend to sit in the back of my vegetable drawers until they need to be thrown away.  It isn’t because we don’t like carrots and celery.  Served as crudités for a party with a  side of hummus, we could probably eat a pound of them.  Otherwise, we kind of forget about them.

This weekend, I had several vegetables just on “this” side of being OK.  They needed to be cooked right away or they were headed for the trash and I really, really, really hate throwing away food.

What to do with half a package of carrots and celery each?  Well, they are the main ingredient for soffrito or mirepoix so I decided to make a nice red wine tomato sauce.

First I roughly chopped up the carrots, celery and onion and sautéed them.  Or rather Soso did.

Doesn’t she look cute?  When the onions were translucent, I threw in some crushed and minced garlic and sauteed for another few minutes.

I added a can of San Marzano whole tomatoes which I crushed gently with a potato masher. I wish I had the action shot, but my camera kept fogging up!  Some salt and fresh pepper, herbs (thyme, basil, parsley) and a cup of good, dry red wine.  If you’re not into wine, you can skip.  But if you don’t mind wine, it really adds a nice flavor.  Plus, if you’re like us and can’t finish a whole bottle of wine, it’s a good way to use up a day old wine!  Then I let it simmer and reduce down about 15 minutes. 

You can serve right away with pasta of your choice, sprinkle some fresh basil or parsley and some fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Yes, get the real stuff.  It really makes a difference!  If you don’t know the difference between the real stuff and parmesan, read here.  Wikipedia does a pretty good job explaining the difference.

I’ll be using the sauce later this week for dinner.  If you’re not going to use within the week, freeze in two portions.

Also, if your kid’s picky about vegetable bits, run the whole thing through a food processor, in batches, of course.

I also had several bunches of scallion in my fridge as well.  I don’t know what my parents were thinking when they bought me 5 bunches*.  I never, ever need to use that much!  Plus, I had a sad squash and two more carrots that needed to be used.  And  the remaining onion.  Pa Jun it is!

I love Pa Jun.  So, does D and Soo.  Chances are even if you’re not familiar with Korean food, you’ll like Pa Jun.  A warning to the uninitiated tho… while delicious, unlike a lot of other Korean food, it isn’t the healthiest.  Afterall, it is fried in plenty of oil in order to get that crispy goodness.  Plus, it is addictive.   So, while one Pa Jun isn’t that bad, you probably want to avoid eating a bunch of them.

 I posted a recipe a while ago, here.  I had to double the ingredients because I had so much scallions to use up.

Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Time: 10 mins prep, 20 mins cooking


  • 5 tablespoon extra-virgin or virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 large sweet onion (or 1 whole medium), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 – 1 cup good quality dry red wine
  • a palmful fresh herbs (fresh chopped thyme, basil, or parsley) or 1 teaspoon of dry herbs
  • 2 teaspoon sugar (or to taste because the wine will add some sweetness)
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste


  • Pour olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and stir until they are coated in oil.  Add the carrots and celery and saute until the vegetables start to soften.  Add the garlic and saute for another few minutes until the garlic starts turning golden.
  • Add the whole tomatoes, juices and all.  Gently crush the tomatoes using either a fork or potato masher.  Stir and cook for a minute.  Add the wine and bring to boil for a few seconds.  Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Give a taste to see if it needs sugar and add sugar if needed.  Add the herbs, salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve right away with pasta of your choice, my favorite is linguine.  Store in fridge up to a week or divide in half and freeze.  Half should be enough for pasta for 4.

*My parents usually do a run to a large Korean Mart while in NJ.  Anyway, I had a list of items for my parents to buy for me and apparently, my Dad took charge of my shopping while my Mom focused on their’s.


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