I find that people are often surprised that I make my own tomato sauce. I think they imagine me spending hours and hours over the stove with tons of ingredients.
Truth is: it’s pretty darn easy and only requires a few simple ingredients.
Italian food is one of my many, many, many favorite types of food. Therefore, I make a lot of it.
To make great Italian food, I think it’s pretty important to make your own tomato sauce.
Now, I haven’t always thought this way. In fact, I used to buy pre-made tomato sauces. [Gasp!] It wasn’t until I tried a recipe for Simple Tomato Sauce by Giada De Laurentiis that everything changed…forever. [Insert dramatic pause]
Oh my goodness, this sauce is good. It is delicious in spaghetti, on pizza, baked with chicken parmesan, on meatball subs and smothered on garlic bread.
As its name suggests, this is a simple sauce.
The possibilities are endless…and tasty.
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 4 to 6 basil leaves
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 5-8 minutes, until sweating.
- Add celery and carrots and season with the salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour. Remove bay leaves.
- If using a food processor, add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
- If using an immersion blender (possibly the best device ever!), just blend the sauce right there in the pot.
- Once sauce is completely pureed, return to the pot. Add additional salt or pepper as desired. Add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavors. (I usually wind up adding about 2 tablespoons). The butter will cut some of the acidity of the tomatoes.
- If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.
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