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June 29, 2023

Easy Tomato Sauce

With San Marzano Canned Tomatoes

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Easy Tomato Sauce

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Tomato sauce is an essential ingredient for quick and easy home-cooked meals and homemade sauce offers a vibrant flavor that jarred sauces just can't match. It's remarkably easy to make, and once you've tasted the difference, you'll never go back to the jar.

There are many ways to make fresh tomato sauce, and I make it a little different each time, depending on my mood and the amount of time I have. Sometimes, it‘s a rustic mash, a smooth puree, a quick stovetop caramelization, or a slow simmer. In this post, I will share how to make tomato sauce using canned tomatoes, with a few variations and several serving ideas.  

Making tomato sauce is a bit of an art. Play with it, test it, and don't be afraid to add more basil, sauteed onions, try fresh thyme, oregano, or crushed red pepper for a little kick. 

Ingredients

Scale

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

28-ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes - preferably packed without citric acid

3-4 cloves of fresh garlic

2 sprigs of fresh basil - about 10 basil leaves

1 tsp of Celtic or sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Optional - 1/4 -1/2 cup dry red or white wine (not sweet)

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute to open the flavor but not brown it. Then add the tomatoes, squeezing them with your hand to crush them—and add the basil, salt, and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the (optional) dry red or white wine and cook for another 20 minutes. 

The cooking time is a guideline. You can cook the sauce a little less when you are pressed for time, or let it simmer for hours. Each time you make it, it might be a little different, but it's always good. 

Depending on the taste and quality of the tomatoes, a bit of sugar may be desirable to smooth out an acidic taste. If you find your sauce too acidic, add a teaspoon or so of sugar, taste, and add more if necessary—just enough to cut the acidity. 

Serve as is, or if you prefer a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender, and pulse a few times to break up the chunks and smooth out the sauce. 

Notes

Try to find canned tomatoes that do have citric acid listed as an ingredient. Citric acid is a chemical preservative made from Aspergillius Niger, a form of mold. Since our bodies weren't meant to digest chemicals, citric acid can cause bloating and difficulty digesting. Citric acid free tomatoes will produce an easier to digest and more flavorful result.  

Freeze tomato sauce in quart-size freezer baggies or containers, and then it will be on hand when you need it.

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There is good reason the Italians have a routine of making tomato sauce. It's delicious, and they put it on everything.

Serving Ideas:

Make or buy pizza dough and make homemade pizza. It's so light and easy to digest. 

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Chicken Cacciatore- chicken with onion, bell peppers, olives, and tomato sauce.

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Zucchini baked with tomato sauce and mozzarella.

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Pappa al Pomodoro- onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, and mozzarella.

Pappa al Pomodoro served with fresh mozzarella on top and a basil leaf.

Caponata- bell peppers, onions, celery, eggplant, olives, and tomato sauce.

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I often cook "au pif," as we say in France, which means cooking without an exact recipe and by "feel" using your intuition.  You’ll often find guidelines in many recipes versus exact quantities.  Write to me here if you have any questions about the recipes.

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