This is a post I should have put up ages ago. I had a request for it several months ago by a reader, but didn't have a chance to get around to it since I was focused on staying with regional Italian cuisine. The question that I got from the reader was about what kind of pasta sauce I buy, or if I make my own, what recipe I use.
Personally, I hate buying jarred sauce. Marinara sauce, pasta sauce, tomato sauce, gravy; call it whatever you want, but it's really something that's best made fresh. The jarred versions are always much too sweet and lose so much of that great tomato flavor. Once in awhile I'll buy some jarred sauce if I don't have any of my own kicking around the fridge and I'm in a hurry to make dinner, but usually I opt for my own. Homemade sauce is really not as intimidating as people think, and it freezes really well so you can easily make a huge batch and have it ready for the next few weeks!
There are two versions of sauce that I make. One is a more rustic, chunky tomato sauce influenced largely by what my roommate in Italy and I used to make for dinners. In Italy, the assumption is that you will make your own sauce, so when you go to the store you have the option of a straight tomato puree, and something closer to crushed tomatoes. So, we quickly came up with our own way of making homemade tomato sauce.
The other version of sauce that I make, which I will share in Part 2, is my version of my mom's sauce recipe (which I've never been able to replicate to the same level of awesomeness). It's a much smoother sauce without the chunks of tomato. My preference is for this type of sauce, probably since it's what I grew up with. Ryan prefers the more rustic sauce though. So for those who are living in houses that are also divided on the subject of sauce, here are a couple options!
Homemade Chunky Tomato Sauce
Makes about 4 cups
1/2 cup finely diced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 24 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. Saute for about 4 minutes until translucent, but not browned.
- Add the can of crushed tomatoes. Follow with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, can of tomato sauce, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir well to incorporate.
- Bring the sauce to a low boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as you desire.
Ryan's rating of Chunky Tomato Sauce - 5
1 - Awful. If you make this again I'll shove a fork in my eye.
2 - Meh. It's not my favorite, but I won't threaten self-harm if it shows up again.
3 - Good. I wouldn't feel forced to order a pizza behind your back.
4 - Great! I will fight you for the leftovers.
5 - Love it! Make it again tomorrow. Or immediately and I will bathe in it.