It’s been a while since store bought pasta sauce has entered my stomach. Why bother with the overly sweet stuff on the supermarket shelves, when you can make it at home, to taste?
Our cupboard is always home to at least one or two large cans of whole tomatoes, which are easily sauce-able. And though I’m an advocate of fresh produce, a tomato sauce from the canned goodies surpasses the ‘real’ deal when examining their respective price/quality ratios.
The secret is that there is no secret. No ‘recipe’, either, but I always start out with:
one large can of whole tomatoes (of the 28oz variety)
about 4-5 cloves of garlic
one goodly sized onion
canola or olive oil, depending on what my hand reaches first
Our trusty wok has been my cooking instrument of choice, as its large capacity easily handles the sauce. To start, I brown the garlic and onions with the hot oil: these two tasties have been chopped, depending on my mood, anywhere from a fine mince, to a chunky dice. Once the onions are verging on translucency, I dump the contents of the can into the hot wok, and usually spice it with a combination of basil, oregano, thyme, and black pepper. At this point, I’ll usually start attacking the tomatoes with a wooden spatula to poke them into the right size – leaving chunks can be rather tasty, too, especially if I’ve opted for the coarsely chopped onions. This step can actually be done whenever, really. After a stir or two, I turn the stove to a medium-ish setting, so that the tomatoes are left to simmer (watch out for a very red splattered kitchen when boiling tomatoes on high).
And then, it’s just a matter of patience!
I usually stir the concoction every once in a while, and about 30-40 minutes later, most of the watery substance will be gone. A little bit of sugar will be added to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. On various occasions of sauce or stock making, I’ve made the mistake of adding too much salt, too early on, forgetting about the reduction of volume that is to occur – so I usually stick to adding salt near the end.
Simple? Yes! Multipurpose? Also, yes!
This stuff works wonders on pizza, too.