I ate a lot of tomato sauce growing up (although I didn't like it until I was 5 yrs old). It was a staple in our diet. Some times even I think it's hard to make or I'm maybe not in the mood. But when I taste fresh sauce, I wonder why I would eat anything else. I've learned to make a bigger recipe and freeze half of it so when I do want spaghetti, I can simply defrost my sauce in a matter of minutes.
Although you can use fresh, very ripe tomatoes, I often opt for canned because I know I'll have a consistent product. In August and September, Roma tomatoes should be ready but using fresh takes more time. Otherwise, don't be afraid to use something from the grocery store shelves; it makes this sauce easy to do even when it's a busy night. There are many good quality, domestic, canned tomatoes like Muir Glen. Try a few and see which one you like best.
Remember to keep your pantry stocked with 2 cans of whole, peeled tomatoes as well as onions, carrots and garlic. If I open a small can of tomato paste, I freeze the left overs for next time.
This recipe is right out of the upcoming cookbook. Let me know what you think.
Amy's Tomato Sauce
Think you don’t have time to make your own? This version is quick and easy and nothing short of delicious! This is how my mom taught me how to make sauce.
Makes about 3-4 qts; great for leftovers or freeze for another night. Can be halved.
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 carrot or 2 baby carrots*, chopped
1 Tbl olive oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-1/3 cup water
2 -28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes plus 1/3 can of water from each can (this gets all of the tomato out so there is hardly any waste)
1-2 Tbl tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5-8 basil leaves, 1 tsp pesto sauce, or 1 Tbl fresh parsley
*You can add other veggies to this sauce like peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, etc. to add extra flavor and a bit more nutrition
1. Sauté onions and carrots in olive oil in a large pot. Sprinkle pepper over veggies while cooking. Cook until onion is soft, adding a few sprinkles of salt if it’s drying out.
2. Add salt and garlic, stir and cook 1 minute. Add water and cook for 3-5 minutes. This softens the carrots and helps to get the flavor from the pan into the sauce.
3. Add 2 cans of tomatoes and water and cook for 5 minutes on medium. Shut off heat and wait until slightly cooled, about 5-10 minutes.
4. Using an immersion blender, puree tomatoes in the pot, being very careful not to splatter the hot sauce. Start on a low setting and slowly increase the speed. You can also use a regular blender but may need to do in 2 batches.
5. Add tomato paste, sugar and salt.
6. Return to the pot and cook for 15-30 minutes, simmering.
7. At the end, add basil, pesto, or parsley and cook for an 5 additional minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.