I really like recipes that use convenient amounts of ingredients. The whole can of tomato paste, not 3 tablespoons. A whole pint of cream, not 1 1/3 cups. Don’t leave me stranded with a quarter of a box of pasta, please. It makes me crazy. So, with that in mind, I’ll give you my basic tomato sauce. It uses whole amounts and is also a fantastic way to use up any little odd amounts of things you have hanging around. That 2/3 cup of cream you have languishing around your fridge? Tip it in before you serve this sauce. Those three carrots you have left that are feeling neglected? Chop ‘em finely and add them in with the onions. Got a handful of leftover pot roast still sitting around? Pop it in with the tomatoes and simmer it into submission.
Basic Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste (I use a LOT)
1 can of tomato paste
Two 28oz cans of ground or crushed tomatoes (or whole peeled tomatoes run through your food processor)
1-2 cups of water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium low heat.
Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until tender.
Stir in the oregano, salt & pepper, and tomato paste. (I like to add it now because it mixes nicely with the onions and I don’t end up chasing a glob of paste around my sauce later!)
Cook for another minute, then add the tomatoes. Then I rinse the cans down with a little water to get every last bit of tomato and dump that slurry in. Hence the vague amount of water. If your sauce is still looking a bit thick you can just add a bit more water.
Stir in the sugar and balsamic vinegar.
Bring the sauce up to a boil, then lower the heat and keep the sauce to a simmer.
Simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.