Steph’s Tomato Sauce
Ah, the pièce de résistance to my great Italian recipes, the tomato sauce! This is probably the recipe that I get asked about most frequently. I almost NEVER use bottled tomato sauce in my cooking unless it’s an emergency. Sorry, but growing up with homemade tomato sauce has made me a tomato sauce snob! Once you make this sauce for the first time, you will see how easy it is and how much better it tastes compared to bottled sauces. One of the things I really hate about bottled sauce is that they have a sweet taste to them. Blech! I don’t want my sauce to be sweet! This recipe is kind of a hybrid between my grandmother’s sauce recipe and my step-grandmother’s recipe.
This particular recipe has no meat in it. However, You can certainly crank up the flavor of the sauce by adding ground meat (or meatballs!), italian sausage, and even ribs!
Steph’s Tomato Sauce
– 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
– 1 28-ounce can tomato puree
– 2 tbs. tomato paste
– 1 large green bell pepper, quartered
– 1 white onion, chopped into large pieces
– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
– 2-3 dried bay leaves
– 2-3 fresh basil leaves
– 1/2 cup red wine (I usually use a cabarnet or merlot)
– 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, plus extra for seasoning sauce while it cooks to your taste.
1. Heat a large sauce pan to medium high heat. Cut the pepper and onion into large pieces that can easily be scooped out once the sauce is cooked. Once pan is heated, add in olive oil, peppers, garlic cloves, and onion. Cook the veggies for approximately 5 minutes or until edges turn brown.
2. Lower heat to low. Add in tomato sauce and puree. Fill one of the empty cans with water and add to pot. Add in paste, salt and pepper, bay leaves, basil leaves, and red wine. Stir to mix in all of the ingredients and then simmer on low heat for at least 4 hours.
2. Once sauce is done cooking, use a slotted spoon to scoop out pepper, onion, bay and basil leaves, and garlic cloves.
– You should stir your sauce once every 30-40 minutes or so. Every time I go to stir, I will also taste a bit of the sauce and I always end up adding additional salt and pepper, and sometimes a little more wine. Making a good tomato sauce is a process!
– I always have a lot of sauce left over so I end up freezing it in different size containers. I will use some larger ones that have enough for additional meals, but then I also use small sauce/salad dressing containers because they give me the perfect amount of sauce for homemade pizzas! Make sure you cool the sauce to room temperature before freezing. To re-heat sauce, remove from container and simmer on low heat.
– In terms of the serving size of this recipe, I would say it makes enough for about 6-8 people, but it really depends on what you are going to use it on. Different dishes and pastas require a different amount of sauce. If you are a family of 2 to 4 people, this will be plenty for probably 2 dinners.