Cheater Chef Homemade Tomato Sauce

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
easy homemade tomato sauce

You gotta make some gravy–Homemade Tomato Sauce!

If today’s typical spaghetti sauce aisle is any indication, homemade tomato sauce is a thing of the past. Delicious homemade tomato “gravy” is easy to master and a skill all home cooks should have. Our tomato sauce tastes like tomatoes and sweet onion, no tinny tomato paste tones, and it casts a delicate pinkish hue. Taste it once and you’ll won’t be able to buy jarred sauce unless it’s an emergency.  

Our recipe combines good canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and a healthy dose of olive oil. The oil might seem excessive at first, but just go with it because the oil gives the finished sauce a silky texture on your tongue. A good sauce needs only these ingredients.

First, the onions must gently simmer in the oil until they’re soft and sweet. That’s what takes most of the time (not simmering the tomatoes). Once the ingredients are combined and heated through, we puree the sauce until it’s almost smooth so that it will coat the pasta delicately and evenly. This easy sauce is the best reason to add a good quality electric immersion blender to your kitchen. It pays for itself in no time.

how to make tomato sauce

Use our tomato sauce as-is over pasta, on pizza, in a meatball or Italian sausage grinder, as a light tomato coulis to accompany grilled fish, or as the start of a tomato soup. The sauce is so streamlined that if you start the sauce and the pasta water at about the same time, they’ll be ready at the same time. This recipe gives the proportions using one large can of tomatoes. Double or triple the recipe as needed as we always do. We make a double batch for one pound of pasta and freeze any leftover sauce.  

I’ve tinkered with the recipe plenty and so should you. Add chopped fresh mushrooms, rehydrated porcini mushrooms, chopped celery and leaves, a handful of fresh parsley, dried herbs, or chopped sweet bell pepper to the onion mixture. It’s all good, but you don’t really need it. 

 

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