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. So, once you get comfortable making this recipe, you can customize it however you want, like adding roasted garlic, four cheeses, pesto, etc.
Simple Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, 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 garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. Add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors. (I usually wind up adding about 2 tablespoons)
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.
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.