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Tasty Basic Tomato Sauce

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This nicely seasoned, all-purpose tomato sauce is good to have on hand for making pasta dishes, pizza, and meat loaf. It’s quite chunky, which is how I prefer it, but if you want a smoother sauce simply puree it in a food mill, food processor, or blender. Since a really good tomato sauce like this one requires long, slow simmering, it’s worth your while to make a large batch. This recipe can easily be doubled, and it will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Taste and Texturesavory

Type of Dishpasta sauce, sauces

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely diced
  • 1 small garlic head (about 10-15 cloves), minced
  • 3 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • Coarse (kosher) salt, to taste

Instructions

Heat the oil in a medium-large, heavy, nonreactive saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, covered, until softened and translucent but not browned, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper flakes and increase the heat to medium. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about one third, 2 to 3 hours, depending on the brand of canned tomatoes you’re using.

When the sauce has reached the desired consistency, remove the pan from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Season with salt, then use immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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