June 25th, 2009
I am addicted to cookbooks. I love trying new recipes and write in the margins any changes I make. I even have my own rating system. But I don’t follow other people’s recipes for sauce since I am Italian. I can’t share my grandma’s secret recipe, but I have developed my own favorite which is quick and easy and tastes better than anything in a jar. And it’s mucho cheaper than jarred sauces and you can choose whether or not you want high fructose corn syrup in it or not. I like to make sauce when tomatoes are ripe, but since that limits me to one week out of the year in Oregon, I settle for canned tomatoes which doesn’t feel like settling at all in my eyes. Canned tomatoes are far superior than any winter supermarket greenhouse gassed globe that is called a tomato. The nice thing about canned tomatoes is that they are harvested and processed when they are at their peak so your sauce will have flavor and not taste like crap.
I have the recipe below but please remember that it does change depending on what I have in my fridge and how much time I have. I prefer to simmer my sauce 30 minutes but if my stomach is rumbling 15 will do the job, which is usually when the pasta is done cooking. I like my flavors to be simple: garlic, oregano and parsely. But feel free to experiment and add marjoram, onions, mushrooms, kale…you get the picture. I tend to add only enough juice from the can to make it the consistency that I like. I hate watery sauce and you should too. I have no idea how much salt I use, probably more than you want to know. I would go easy and keep tasting the sauce until the flavor pops out. I wish I could be more helpful with the salting but I can’t. Ask your grandma to taste your sauce and she’ll know if it needs more salt. Some people add some red wine vinegar to their sauce but I think tomatoes are acidic enough and do without that step.
Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce
Yield: 1 quart of sauce (enough for 4 pasta servings or a lot of pizza)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5-8 cloves garlic, minced (I like garlic)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 – 28 oz cans plum/Roma tomatoes (the Muir Glen Fire Roasted are awesome)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- sea salt to taste
- (optional) a handful chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- (optional) a handful chopped fresh basil leaves
- Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 30 seconds or until the garlic starts to become golden.
- Add tomatoes, (if whole, crush with your hands) and oregano and stir.
- Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add parsley and basil and simmer for 5 minutes more.
- Place 1/3 to ½ of the sauce (depending on your own personal desires) in a blender and puree. Return pureed sauce to saute pan and stir to combine.
- Cool sauce and store in an airtight container for up to a week or 3 months in the freezer.