Our traditional, homemade tomato sauce, uses crushed, uncooked, tomatoes from our annual Fall tomato canning event. Tomato sauce is easy to make and incredibly versatile. We use tomato sauce for pasta, other sauces, soups, etc. Making homemade sauce is a no-brainer, so don’t purchase the canned variety at your local supermarket. Plus, our recipe hails from Calabria, Italy – a region that produces some of the best tasting tomatoes on the planet.
Here’s our quick recipe:
- 1 large Mason jar of homemade crushed, plum, tomatoes (uncooked) or 2, 28 ounce cans of crushed San Marzano tomatoes. If the price doesn’t blow your budget, opt for canned San Marzano tomatoes from Italy (SanMarzano and Cento both use tomatoes from Italy). The tomatoes I crush in the summer for canning are from plum or roma varieties from New Jersey.
- 1 large red onion finely diced
- 1-2 garlic cloves finely diced
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (for sautéing onion and garlic, click here for a review of olive oils)
- 1 teaspoon of sugar (optional if you have superb tomatoes, standard for all other tomatoes)
- 1 teaspoon dried Oregano (if you can find the imported kind from Italy it will make a difference)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 4-5 basil leaves
- Start with a medium sized pot with a lid – Le Creuset makes a nice 8.5 round casserole pot but you don’t have to get fancy (any pot will do). Begin to heat your pot and thereafter (about 4-5 minutes later) add the finely diced onions and garlic (along with a bit of salt and pepper). Saute the onions and garlic until the mixture becomes translucent and, thereafter, add the crushed tomatoes and stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil and then set your heat to simmer. Next, add the sugar, dried oregano, pepper, and salt to your pot and mix well. Let the mixture simmer for 35-45 minutes without the lid (you can keep the lid on but your sauce will become a bit thicker). You’ll want to mix the sauce every 15 minutes or so. Some folks let tomato sauce simmer “for hours”, but I haven’t found that a longer cooking period increases flavor (what it does do is turn tomato sauce into thick “gravy”, which isn’t very appealing in my book).
- Once the sauce has finished cooking transfer the contents of the pot to a food mill; note, the food mill should sit on a large bowl to catch the processed tomato sauce (I like to do this in the sink so I don’t make a mess).
- A food mill is a great, inexpensive, tool and it yields a perfect consistency for tomato sauce (and also opens up the flavor of all the ingredients).
A food mill is a great, inexpensive, tool and it yields a perfect consistency for tomato sauce (and also opens up the flavor of all the ingredients). The brand I like is called, Mouli; I see this mill all over Italy and for $39.99 it’s a great product!
That’s it, you’re done with making homemade tomato sauce! Note if you want to turn the above tomato sauce recipe into a “meat sauce” simply use your pot to brown 4-5 pork spare ribs, 6-7 medium sized meatballs, and 4-5 links of pork sausage. You’ll want to remove the meat after browning and begin sautéing the onion and garlic mixture. Add the meat to your pot after adding the seasonings and cook the entire 45 minute time period (the key with getting a flavorful sauce via meat is to brown the ribs, meatballs, and sausage well).