I have many ideas for tomato sauces, as they are many opportunities to use them and I have different ingredients on hand at any given time.
Below is a tomato sauce that is easy to make, takes less than an hour (in simmer time – not actual work) to have a tasty versatile sauce. It can be used with any pasta and stuffed pasta, chicken and fish dishes, etc.
And it is vegetarian to boot. I made this when at the last-minute, when testing a “lasagna” type stuffed portabella appetizer. I baked it, like I do all my stuffed mushrooms, and the filling just started to spread all over the pan. So I thought – what am I going to do now?
Well – I thought – it is supposed to be “lasagna”, so I decided to make a lasagna using the mushrooms in place of the pasta.. but I needed a sauce.
I went to my pantry to see what my options were. One thing I ALWAYS have on hand are diced canned tomatoes. So out they came with the low salt canned plain tomato sauce. I had some other fresh ingredient staples and voila – a tasty pasta sauce was made. My neighbor happened to swing by and did a taste testing for me and agreed it was right on point.
1 8 oz can plain tomato sauce
1/2 large onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, crushed or smashed
2 – 3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Handful of fresh basil leaves (fresh is best, if you don’t have basil, oregano and/or thyme will work too)
salt and pepper to taste
1.) In a 3 – 5 qt sauce pot, add olive oil and onions. Saute for about 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.
2.) Add in the garlic and sauté another 3 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
3.) Add in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, stir and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring every so often so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
4.) Add in the fresh herbs, stir and take off the heat. Serve just this way or blend (see Step 5).
5.) OPTIONAL – In a food processor, blender or stick blender, blend the ingredients until all the tomatoes have been processed (watch out for hot spatters). Return to low heat for about another 5 minutes and then your sauce is ready to go.
There you have it. Dinner time.
Herbs: If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use 3/4 TBS dried basil added in step 2.
Tomatoes: If you don’t have diced tomatoes, stewed, crushed, or whole canned tomatoes will work as well. If using whole, squish them in your hand to release the juices into the pan.