Making your own pasta sauce is incredibly simple, and after you taste the difference between this and pre-made sauce from the store you may never go back. This homemade sauce is full of flavor, with none of the artificial aftertaste from some of those jars you find at the store. You control everything about this so you can tailor it to your exact preference. And the best part – your house smells insanely delicious while this simmers.
The effort it takes to make a big batch of this sauce is minimal and the payoff is huge. By dividing it into meal-sized portions and freezing it you’ll have a quick and easy weeknight meal in your back pocket that will see you through many a busy evening. I like to freeze mine in glass rather than plastic. There are so many reports and studies about the dangers of chemicals from plastic leaching into food, so I just sleep better using glass. There is always the danger of glass breaking in the freezer but so far I haven’t had any issues, and I’ve read plenty of other blogs whose authors do the same. Here again I use re-purposed jars from salad dressings, olives, honey – anything I buy that comes in a glass jar ends up in my stash of storage containers. To help guard against breakage I always leave at least an inch of room between the sauce and the top of the jar, and I also take one more precaution. I place them in the freezer without the tops overnight. The next day I just pop on the top and they’re good to go. The sauce makes a great choice for a meatless meal when poured over plain pasta and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or add it to cooked ground beef or meatballs for a more substantial meal in a hurry. It makes a great pizza sauce too.
This is one of my favorite Winter comfort meals so I’ve been busy stocking the freezer with plenty of jars. The beauty of the recipe is that it works just as well with fresh tomatoes or canned. You may be able to find some great deals on local tomatoes since we’re at the end of the growing season. If so, snatch them up and put your pot on the stove. If you use canned tomatoes I recommend using organic with as few ingredients as possible.
You can easily double this recipe or cut it in half. The recipe below makes about 4 quarts.
Simple Red Sauce
makes about 4 quarts
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
8 cans (14.5 ounces each) canned pureed tomatoes, or 7-8 pounds fresh*
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, basil, oregano, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Let sauce cool for about 15 minutes. Pour into freezable containers and place in freezer, or serve immediately.
*If using fresh tomatoes I recommend slicing them in half and remove the seeds by running a spoon around each side. Then roughly dice the tomatoes before adding them to the pot. You can also blanch them first to remove the skin if it bothers you. I don’t do that step and the sauce ends up just slightly chunkier than with the blanching step. I use a potato masher to help break up any large chunks.
Note: you can add some vegetables to the sauce, such as bell peppers or onions if you like. Just add them at the beginning before you add the garlic. Let them cook until soft then proceed as written.