Saturday, September 1, 2012

Simple Saucey Goodness

My dad always said an Italian restaurant is defined by two things: its white clam sauce and its tomato sauce, so I guess a chef should be judged by the same rules. Fortunately, I grew up in a house where we made our own tomato sauce all the time. Actually, I don't think I've ever tasted jarred tomato sauce, and probably for the better, considering store-bought sauces can be chocked full of sugar and salt. Making your own tomato sauce is beyond easy also, and a great way to use those extra tomatos from the garden or the ones that have started to get mushy sitting in your kitchen. I'm a huge fan of lots of onions and mushrooms in my tomato sauce, but if you like less, just scale back the amounts or use extra tomatoes to yield a bigger pot of sauce. This recipe yields about 2 large containers of tomato sauce!

To make your own sauce, you will need:

5-6 large tomatoes chopped
2 small onions or 1 big one chopped
1 8oz pack of mushrooms chopped
3-6 cloves of garlic minced (depending upon how garlic-y you like your sauce)
a generous pinch of onion powder, garlic powder, and sugar or stevia
2 large bay leaves
2 T tomato paste (can be omitted if you prefer a thinner sauce, or add more for a thicker sauce)
optional: a generous pinch of italian seasoning or oregano- Personally, I'm not a huge fan of these herbs, but most people like them in their sauce, so if I'm making sauce for myself I omit, and if it's for a group I add it in.
Also optional: dehydrated onion and garlic and a pinch of salt

Spray the bottom of a pot with non-stick spray (or use some olive oil) and sauté the onions, mushrooms, and garlic until cooked. Add the tomatoes and spices, give everything a quick stir, and allow the sauce to simmer for about an hour. Depending upon how thick the sauce has gotten, add however much tomato paste you'd like, gradually, stirring as you go. Allow the sauce to simmer for another hour or so until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes have cooked down. Serve over pasta, pizza, etc.!

Feelin' Frisky? Technically, you should probably remove the skins of the tomatoes, but I'm personally not bothered by having them in the sauce. Also, if you don't like chunks in your sauce, you can use an emersion blender to liquify everything- This will also make for a much thicker sauce!

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