Monday, October 6, 2014

The Cook At Home Dad's Go-To Tomato Sauce


I don't think I've ever made the same tomato sauce twice...until I came up with this go-to recipe!  I believe in pairing every fresh herb and spice with its dried counterpart to provide a wonderful depth of flavor.  I keep it simple by sticking to tomato basil, and then alter the flavor of the sauce depending on the dish I'm making (if it is a traditional spaghetti and meatballs, I flavor the meatballs with onion and oregano, and  cook it in the slow cooker---the sauce infuses the meatballs which in turn infuse the sauce!  YUM!).  Whether you are looking for a quick-pizza sauce (omit the wine), or a robust all day simmered depth, give this one a whirl!  

Ingredients:
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 C fresh basil leaves
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 2 T dried basil
  • 1/2 t red pepper flake
  • 2 T capers or green olives (adds a subtle layer of tang to the sauce, without overpowering the flavor)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes in puree
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1/4 C red wine (Shiraz works best--only add this if you are planning to simmer this for a long while)
  1. Brown garlic cloves (whole) in olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium high heat, stirring frequently (this will take several minutes, but the flavor of the garlic becomes deep, rich, and sweet in a way it would not if you were to mince or chop it).
  2. Add pepper flakes.  
  3. Carefully add in 2 cans of diced tomatoes and reduce heat to low.
  4. Add capers/olives, red wine, and basil leaves.
  5. Using a mixing wand, carefully blend the sauce until smooth (make sure there are no random whole capers).  If you do not have a mixing wand, you can transfer the sauce in batches into a blender.  Be extremely careful,  as a hot mixture will cause the lid of the blender to blow and splatter if you don't pulse it first
  6. Return heat to medium high and add crushed tomatoes. 
  7. Bring to a boil. 
  8. Reduce heat to low, and gently incorporate tomato paste.
  9. Stir until well combined.
  10. Add remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. 
  11. Simmer on low for HOURS.  Literally cook the living daylights out of it.  The longer it cooks, the better it tastes! 
  12. Mangia!