Before I discovered how easy and satisfying it is to make your own tomato sauce, I was a “store-bought pasta sauce” girl. Even in Italy, with all the AMAZING ingredients at my fingertips, I still bought pasta sauce at the supermarket. I thought it would be more authentic. It really wasn’t.
But, after making sauce once, even though it wasn’t my best sauce, it was one-hundred times better than the jarred stuff. There was no comparison. Today, my Sunday sauce is almost like a ritual- an absolute must! This sauce will take me through the week. When I’m in a pinch and don’t know what to have for dinner, this sauce will inspire me to make chicken parmesan, calzone’s, and veggie pasta tosses- the possibilities are endless.
The recipe changes constantly, but the base remains the same. Much like my Penne alla Vodka sauce, it begins with peeled canned tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil- but after that, you can be a little creative…
1 35 ounce can (Italian whole tomatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, crushed red pepper, and any other spices you like- to taste
1/3 cup of red wine
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until garlic begins to brown slightly- about 2 minutes.
2. For a chunky sauce, add the whole can of tomatoes to the skillet and bring to a strong simmer. Lower heat, smash tomatoes slightly with a wooden spoon, and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes, or until sauce is thick and chunky. For a smoother sauce, add the can of tomatoes to a food processor, and, using quick pulses, puree the tomatoes. Add to sauce and cook covered under low heat for about 5-10 minutes.
3. Add the seasonings and stir well. Add the red wine, and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes.
4. Taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary.
It’s a very simple sauce but it’s also very delicious. The wine really adds a lot of depth to the sauce and makes it super flavorful. If you wanted, you could cut back on the garlic (if you must!) and add some chopped onions. You could also add a bay leaf with the seasoning and remove once it’s done cooking. Have fun with the recipe- make it your own- and I promise you’ll never pick up the jarred stuff again once you’ve given this sauce a try!