Tuesday, May 12, 2009
20 Minute Tomato Sauce
Sometimes, it's nice to get back to basics. Sure, there are great brands out there that make canned tomato sauce - and, when in a crunch, they sure come in handy - but when you have a little time, it's really a nice thing to try and make at home. Really, making tomato sauce is a pretty easy endeavor. This is the recipe I've adapted from many others I've tried, and it seems to do the trick!
And really... this tomato sauce only takes 20-25 minutes tops to make. I always make a big batch when I take the time to make it - like this week, for example. I made a hearty batch of tomato sauce yesterday, froze half of it, and am using the other half for different weekly meals. Spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs is always a great classic, as is any combination involving tomato sauce and pizza - but you can also use it to top simple grilled chicken breast or as a sauce to poach fish by adding a little chicken stock.
If I've learned anything from attending culinary school is that cooking is all about building layers of flavor. This is exactly what makes tomato sauce so delicious: you've got the obvious strong tomato flavor, subtle sweetness coming from the carrots, and depth in flavor coming from the herbs and aromatics. There's nothing like it!
Homemade Tomato Sauce
1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
1 small carrot
1 small celery stalk
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper
Finely dice the onion, carrot, celery and 2 cloves of garlic. Try to keep them all the same size so that they cook evenly. In a stockpot on medium heat, add a good drizzle of olive oil and add the onion. Saute for 2 minutes, and add the carrots and celery. Add the dried oregano and bay leaves and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Crush the canned tomatoes and add the tomatoes and liquid to the stockpot. Generously season with salt and pepper and add the last garlic clove, peeled and coarsely chopped. Add the tomato paste and sugar and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and discard.
Using a immersion blender, blend the tomato sauce until the sauce is well pureed. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!