Do you make your own pasta sauce or use the store-bought canned variety?
Homemade tomato sauce offers you good economic value as well as good nutrition. This flavorful sauce typically costs less per serving than a comparable cream-based or meat-based sauce because its main ingredient costs relatively little.
Tomato sauce has a place in cuisines from all over the world. You’ll find it in Italian pasta dishes, Mexican enchilada sauce…
But tomato-based sauce has long ago earned its status as a kitchen staple in the US as well, so you will all agree with me that learning to make one is a must for all new cooks and housewives alike!
Since “Nonna’s Recipe” is still the gold standard of pasta sauce in many Italian families, I’m not sure I’m allowed to share this secret, so I’m sharing a very similar recipe from fresh tomatoes instead. Nevertheless, I know I can share one part of this secret recipe, which is to throw a piece of a carrot into the sauce while it is cooking in order to absorb the acidity of the tomatoes and create a sweeter tasting sauce.
This recipe is great for the tomato season, but I often preserve the extra sauce to use it in cold winter.
Tomato sauce does wonders for the flavor of a plate of pasta or a slice of pizza, but the red sauce also provides essential nutrients. A cup of tomato sauce contains a quarter of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A and fulfills half of your daily need for vitamin C.
Tomatoes are also naturally rich in the antioxidant lycopene. Depending on how it is prepared, tomato sauce also provides the necessary fiber.
Tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic:
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people
- 5 pounds of fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded (to peel, cut a small “x” on the top and drop in to boiling water for 10 seconds and drop in to an ice bath. Skin will easily peel off)
- 1 carrot (1/2 should be grated and added to sauce, the other half should be added at the end of cooking and then removed)
- ¼ cup olive oil (or tallow)
- 3 medium onions, diced
- 8 cloves of fresh garlic (or more to taste), finely minced
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme leaves (or ½ tsp dried)
- 1 sprig of fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
- 2 bay leaves (remove when done)
- 2 sprigs of parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat. Add diced onions, garlic and grated carrots. Saute for 6-8 minutes or until onions are translucent and tender. Add tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, oregano, thyme bay leaves, parsley and sea salt.
Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours or until cooked down and starting to darken. Add carrot piece for the last 30 minutes to absorb acidity. Remove sprigs of herbs and piece of carrot.
Optional: Use an immersion blender to puree sauce until smooth (for a thicker sauce, skip this step). Use fresh or store in the fridge up to 1 week, or can it according to your canner’s instructions for tomato products.
These are the 4 dishes I always garnish with this fantastic homemade tomato sauce:
- Zucchini lasagna
- Chicken cacciatore
- Chicken parmesan