Tomato Sauce

Makes 4-8 cups depending on type of tomatoes and how long you simmer it.

2 cans (28 oz. each) tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes, or whole tomatoes (Italian plum if you can find them) or a combination [see NOTE below]
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce (or 3 Tbls. tomato paste combined with 1/2 cup water)
3 Tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup snipped parsley (or 2 Tbls. dried parsley flakes)
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

In 3-quart saucepan, saute onion in olive oil over medium high heat. Once the onions begin to soften and get transparent, lower heat to medium and add the parsley, herbs, and garlic. Saute for about 1 minute. Be careful not to let the herbs or garlic burn. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce or paste/water. Add sugar, salt & pepper and nutmeg. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered or partially covered for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Test for seasoning about 30 minutes before using and adjust as necessary.

(1) My decision about which type of tomatoes to use depends in part on what happens to be in my pantry, but also on how thick I want my sauce to be for a particular dish. For deep dish pizza, I prefer to start with the whole tomatoes and slow-cook this sauce all day. For stuffed shells I use crushed tomatoes and then puree the final sauce with an immersion blender so that it is chunky, but not too chunky. If I want a nice smooth sauce, I just start with puree. Experiment and see what works for you.

(2) Many moons ago, when I first started making this sauce (from a recipe for Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza), an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce was 8 fluid ounces and made only of tomatoes and water. Today, these little cans are sold by weight (resulting in somewhat less than 8 fluid ounces) and often contain many other ingredients you may or may not want in your own tomato sauce. These days I usually substitute diluted tomato paste to avoid all those other ingredients. Read the cans yourself and decide.

Copyright © 2009, Lucinda DeWitt


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