Basic Tomato Sauce

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I grew up eating pasta. At least once a week for dinner, then leftovers, and maybe again another day. My Mom always made a meat sauce, my Nonna tomato sauce. It was ALWAYS home made. Sometimes slow simmered, sometimes ready and on the table in twenty minutes. Here is a recipe for a quick tomato sauce. The secret to the twenty minute version is to cook it in a 12" saute pan. Wide and deep allows for a quick reduction of excess liquid.  Slow simmering in a dutch oven will give you a sauce with deeper, richer flavors. Whichever way you prefer, consider making a double batch. You'll never buy a jar of sauce again! This recipe makes about six cups of sauce that freezes beautifully!

Basic Tomato Sauce

1 small onion, diced 1/4"
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 28oz can tomato sauce
2 t Italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon each oregano and basil)
1 t sugar
1 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1/2 c red wine
2 tsp chicken base

Heat olive oil and saute onion until translucent but not brown. Add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and lower heat so it is just bubbling. Cook for another 15 minutes if going for a quick sauce, or about an hour to an hour and a half for a simmered sauce. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan. Adjust seasonings and serve.

This is a great basic sauce that can become so much more! Feel free to make it into whatever your heart desires. here are a few suggestions:

Sausage and Peppers: Cook 1 1b Italian sausage with a sliced green pepper, a sliced red pepper and a hungarian hot pepper if you like. Add to 3 c. of the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes to combine flavors.

Mushroom Sauce - Saute 1 lb of mushrooms in a few T olive oil, salt, pepper and a clove of minced garlic.  Add to 3 c. of sauce, serve.

Tomato Florentine with Ricotta - Saute one bag of spinach in 2 T olive oil with a clove of crushed garlic until just wilted. Stir into 3 c. of sauce with 1 c. of ricotta cheese. Serve over rigatoni or penne.

Puttanesca - Saute  1-2 chopped anchovy fillets, 1T capers, rinsed and drained, 1/2 c pitted and chopped kalamata or favorite black olive in 2 T olive oil until fragrant. Add to 3 cups sauce, simmer another five minutes. If you have fresh basil, add a few tablespoons before serving.

So you get the idea, this one sauce can become so much more! It's fantastic on it's own, but a great start to a special meal! Enjoy!