Thursday, June 5, 2008

Basic Tomato Sauce

So after my roommate pointed out to me that my pizza was missing tomato sauce, I decided to make one of my big batches and store it for later. I tend to use this sauce for various purposes - braising a nice roulade, as pizza sauce, or simply pasta sauce. I'm sure there's much more to do with this, but that'll come in another post.

Ingredients are simple:
2 large cans, tomato sauce
1 small can, tomato paste
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 head of garlic, minced
1 handful fresh basil, chopped roughly
1/2 bottle merlot
I also added 3 medium tomatoes because I had them lying around, and pictured is a handful of assorted greens, but those ended up getting cut before the end of this. They'll come up in a later post.

Throw the onions in a large pot with a small amount of olive oil. Over medium heat, sweat them until tender. Add garlic and continue heating for another 2 minutes before adding fresh tomatoes and basil.

Add the tomato sauce and paste, then stir well to bring everything together. Bring to a simmer and add merlot to taste. If you don't particularly like merlot, you could try adding a bit of vodka, or try another wine. The idea is to have some sort of alcohol in there to pull out the alcohol-soluble flavors hiding in the tomatoes. I use about half a bottle, and it gives the sauce good flavor and consistency.

Also note, in many recipes the quality of wine tends to affect the overall quality of the end product. However, in this case, the merlot is definitely a background player. Go ahead and use something cheap! If this were to be a wine-based sauce, then things would definitely be different.

Keep it simmering for 2-3 hours, so the flavors have plenty of time to meld. Yield is approximately four 20-oz mason jars (I overfilled mine a bit). Should keep well in the refrigerator for a while, but I usually end up using it all within a couple weeks.


Noor said...

I make homemade sauce as well and just love it. I never thought of making it up in batches like that. I think I will this weekend, thanks :)..

Elle said...

Looks delicious! I always make a double batch when making spaghetti and meatballs--the sauce can be used for all kinds of things and the meatballs--they're good in meatball subs, or even cold from the fridge. They're good Sunday afternoon recipes.