My first date with my husband was to this wonderful, family-owned Italian restaurant. Ever since then, it’s been “our restaurant.” We would visit on anniversaries, date nights, really any chance we could get. We’ve even shared the wonder of this place with our kids. We would always order something with their tomato sauce and ask for an extra dish on the side. It is so delicious, I could eat it like a bowl of soup.
When I explained to my husband the foods that we would be giving up to follow the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) or Autoimmune Paleo Diet, he didn’t say much, but I could read his mind. “You mean we won’t have pizza or lasagna or spaghetti or tacos or enchiladas or chili…..?”
My timing for making this switch to AIP was not ideal. I had a garden full of beautiful, ripe, juicy tomatoes. I tried not to cry as I picked them and canned them. No fresh tomato sandwiches for me this summer. It makes me so sad just to write this.
We went on for several months simply shunning these foods that we would normally have eaten. But along came fall with it’s pretty leaves and crisp air and I wanted a casserole. Lasagna or enchiladas sounded so warm and comforting. I was going to have to tackle the dreaded “nomato” sauce if I wanted these foods back in my life.
I had made a couple batches of nomato sauce before. Most call for lots and lots of carrots or beets in order to achieve the sweetness and color you would normally get from tomatoes. But I’m not going to lie, I absolutely HATE beets. I’ve grown them in my garden because they’re so good for me. I’ve eaten the greens in salad. I’ve roasted the beets with other vegetables. I’ve pureed them into soups. If there is a tiny shred of beet I can taste it and I don’t like it.
Until now. I try to be pretty humble, but I think this sauce is THE BEST! It is just as good as tomato sauce. I promise! And it contains one, humble beet.
Even without tomatoes, I think this sauce comes really close to my favorite tomato sauce from “our restaurant.” The secret is the short ribs. You could use any cut of beef with bones, but short ribs are pretty readily available, easy to work with and lend an absolutely amazing flavor. Don’t try to make this recipe without some sort of beef bones.
This recipe is a labor of love. You need a little time to chop veggies, brown the short ribs, and simmer the sauce, but it’s mostly hands off time. You can simmer it on the stove or in the oven on a really low temperature. I highly recommend doubling the batch so you can keep some in the freezer. (you can double every ingredient, but still only use two short ribs and it still has that great flavor) I’ve used this as a base for pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce and soup. Anytime you would use tomato sauce, you can use this sauce instead.
I hope your family will love it as much as mine does. I’ve got a batch simmering in the oven now. My husband is working from home today and he just said, “You mean I have to wait five more hours before I can eat that?” I wish you could smell all the smells right now. Just make some and get these yummy smells in your house!