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Basic Tomatoey Pasta Sauce

What you need: 

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced, chopped, or minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 bay leaves (dry)
1 tablespoon oregano (dry)
1 tablespoon basil (dry)
fresh basil in chiffonade, fennel seeds, and chili pepper flakes to taste
sugar (a pinch or two) to taste
balsamic vinegar (a tablespoon or two) to taste
optional protein of choice: half a pound of frozen thawed tofu, chopped or crumbled, or 1
can garbanzos, rinsed and drained
olive oil to coat bottom of saucepan

What you do: 

It sounds like a lot of ingredients but it's simple and very good.
Cover bottom of saucepan with olive oil and add onion. Sizzle onion over medium-high heat until it turns translucent, then add other vegetables, stirring occasionally until they soften.
Add dry herbs and all tomato products and allow to simmer for an hour or more.
Add desired "to taste" ingredients and simmer a few minutes, and then adjust to suit your personal taste.
Add protein of choice at this point and remove from heat.
Fish out the bay leaves and discard.
Allow to mellow off the heat while you cook your pasta, then serve with a smile.
This will really answer a hankering for Mom's homemade pasta sauce, and you can add mock-meats to taste if you like!
This is a version of my mom's very rich meat sauce made vegan simply by leaving out the meat... and it works just fine. Enjoy!

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