Spicy Pasta Sauce


1 cup (250 ml) large mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus spears
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon basil leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
1 28 oz (796 ml) can plum tomatoes
1 28 oz (796 ml) can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Cut mushrooms into large slices.
  • Snap and discard tough ends of asparagus.
  • Cut asparagus lengthwise and then in 1" pieces crosswise.
  • Set mushrooms and asparagus aside.
  • In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic and chili flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms and asparagus to pan; cook until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Add wine and cook until it's nearly evaporated.
  • Add plum tomatoes (halved) including juice; cook for 5 to 10 minutes, using the back of a spoon to crush them a bit.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and cheese. Let simmer, about 1 hour.
  • Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta.
  • Use more Parmesan cheese for sprinkling over pasta.

Makes 8 servings.

PER SERVING:  95 calories, 3.5 g protein, 4.8 g fat, 2.7 g dietary fibre, 11 g carbohydrates, 85 mg calcium, 1.6 mg iron, 44 mcg folacin. Moderate amount of dietary fibre. Good source of vitamin C and folacin.

Real Cooking

A sauce is a thick liquid which can be used to add flavour to food, to moisten it and/or make it look more attractive on the plate.

Sauces form an important part of traditional French cuisine. These French-style sauces are thickened with starch or roux (flour cooked in butter) and fall into two basic categories:
- Brown sauces, which are based on demi-glace, a reduction of browned veal and beef bones
- White sauces, based on velouté, a reduction of the meat and bones of veal, chicken or both, or of fish.

Also important in French cuisine are the following types of sauces:
- Béchamel; family sauces, based on flour &  thickened milk
- "Emulsified sauces", which use eggs as emulsifiers to combine normally immiscible ingredients such as oil and vinegar
- "Butter sauces", in which butter fat is re-emulsified back to a state resembling the original

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