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Tomato Sauce. Why The Big Scare?

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When people tell me they made lasagna or ravioli for dinner I always ask if they make their own sauce. 99% of the time I get a scared look and a big fat NO comes out of their mouth. “I can’t go through all of that” they usually say.

I don’t get what the big scare is. Preparing tomato sauce takes about one third the efforts it does to prepare lasagna. Here is a simple homemade tomato sauce recipe to excite your family and friends with. Well, maybe it’s not that exciting but people have told me they like my sauce so I am basing it on the feedback I’ve received through the years.

Here is what you will need:

(2) 29oz Cans of Crushed Tomatoes
(2) 29 Cans of Tomato Puree.
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Medium Onion

(Notice the spices show no measurement. I add to taste. I never followed Tbsp and Tsp and all that when it comes to following a recipe).
Now you will see how easy this is.

  1. Take a sauce pot and coat the bottom with a little bit of olive oil or vegetable oil at medium heat.
  2. Chop 3 cloves of garlic and one medium onion and throw them in. Stir occasionally. You just want to soften them up. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC!! There is nothing worse than burnt garlic. Here is a trick when it comes to garlic. Take a clove and hammer punch the clove or take a glass and smash it. Not the glass, the garlic. This will take the skin off so much easier than sitting there peeling away all day. Remember, you don’t want to be slaving over a stove all day long. Smashing the garlic like it’s a bug will speed up the process.
  3. Now, in the wings have your 4 cans open and in the bullpen because they’re coming into the game soon. After 5 minutes of stirring the garlic and onions, pour the 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and two cans of puree into the pot. Here is another tip. Buy Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes and puree. I’ve tried Hunts and some other brands. In my opinion they’re not as good. I know it’s a personal preference but go with the Tuttorosso.
  4. Now add salt, pepper, oregano, basil and even parsley if you want. If I was to guess I would add about 3 Tbsp of each and stir it all in. Bring your burner down to low and put the cover on. I usually put the cover on with a tilt so some heat gets trapped but can escape slowly. Stir occasionally and after two to three hours you have sauce. Also, do not over-salt. Remember you can always add but you can’t take out. Your audience can always add salt to their plate as well.
  5. Here is another tip and some more you can do to the sauce because that was just too easy. After an hour, sprinkle two pinches of sugar. Sugar cuts down on the acid.
  6. I also add a little bit of Parmesan cheese to the mix. Add about 1/4 cup and stir as you add it so it melts in. It gives it a great flavor and people who do not like cheese on their pasta will never know. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

So you want meat with your sauce? Certainly you can make a meat sauce. As you’re cooking your sauce slowly, take a pan and fry some ground hamburger. Add some salt, pepper and even some onions to the meat if you want. As it is cooking, break it up as much as you can. Drain the grease out and dump the meat into the sauce.
Did someone say sausage? Sure, just buy linked sausage and throw it in the oven with a little oil on the bottom or cooking spray. Brown the sausage and you can either add the full links to the sauce or you can cut it up and add it. You can do the same with meatballs. Bake those and throw them in when it is done. My grandmother would throw pork in from yesterday’s dinner.
The sky is the limit when it comes to sauce. You can cut up a bell pepper or two. Try one red and one green. Mushrooms are good too.
So here is a quick recap.

  1. Simmer garlic and onion, throw in your puree and crushed tomatoes.
  2. Throw in spices.
  3. Later throw in more spices if needed, Parmesan cheese and two pinches of sugar.
  4. Stir occasionally for two to three hours.

Now imagine if I wrote an article about preparing a lasagna.



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About John Basso

  • Anne

    Hi John! I never thought making our homestyle tomato sauce would be that easy and good tasting. Thanks for the recipe!