My mother, and my grandmother before her would make this tomato sauce. Jars of it would be kept in the freezer all year round for rainy days, or sunny days or really just any day. This is incredibly easy to make and can be used in many recipes such as Zucchini Lasagna, Chicken Meatballs, or spooned over Turkey Meatloaf.

Nowadays there are some really quality jarred tomato sauces out there, but there is just something special about homemade tomato sauce. Okay… let’s get this partay started. 

Start by sauteing a chopped onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. 

imageWhen the onions begin to simmer and soften, add a WHOLE bunch of chopped garlic (about 5 cloves). 

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Then add a teaspoon of salt, 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper, and 1 bay leaf. (The bay leaf isn’t shown in the bottom pic because I am an airhead). 

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Stir everything together and continue cooking onion the onions are very soft and start to develop just a bit of color. 

Next, we add the tomatoes. For homemade sauce, I use Cento Tomatoes. You can find them at any major grocery store. They are a very good quality tomato and they are packed with a basil leaf that I add right into the sauce 

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First, you are going to add one 35 oz can of whole tomatoes, BUT don’t just pour them in. Open the can and one at a time, break up each tomato into the sauce with your hands. This will give you a really great consistency. Once you add all the tomatoes make sure to pour in any additional sauce that is in the can, and the basil leaf! 

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To the whole tomatoes, add two 35 oz cans of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 TABLESPOON of Kosher salt,  and some good solid cranks of fresh ground pepper. 

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Stir everything together. 

To bring out the acid in the tomatoes, add 1 cup of good quality dry red wine. I recommend a Cabernet or Chianti. Make sure that you use a wine that you enjoy drinking.  

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Stir the wine into the sauce and allow the sauce to come to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Let the sauce simmer on low for as long as you can, but at least 30 min. The sauce will get more flavorful the longer it cooks. Taste the sauce every 30 min so that you can judge whether it needs more salt, pepper, or a splash more wine. If you are planning on cooking the sauce for a few hours, don’t go overboard on the seasonings the first few times you try it because it will continue to develop flavor the longer it cooks. 

Right before you are ready to use the sauce, break up a bunch of basil leaves into the sauce, stir and cover the pot for 5 minutes so the basil leaves wilt and flavor the sauce. Enjoy! 

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This sauce will actually taste better the next day, and the leftovers can be kept in the freezer in a container for up to six months! 

Classic Tomato Sauce
Yields 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 TB olive oil
  2. 1 medium white onion, chopped
  3. 5 large cloves garlic, chopped
  4. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 1 35 oz can whole tomatoes (recommended Cento)
  7. 2 35 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  8. 1 cup good quality red wine (recommended Cabernet or Chianti)
  9. 5 - 10 basil leaves, torn
  10. Kosher salt
  11. Fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Saute the onions in the olive oil over medium heat. When the onions begin to soften, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, bay leaf and 1 tsp of Kosher salt.
  2. When the onions are soft and begin to develop a bit of color, add the whole tomatoes by breaking each tomato into the sauce by hand. Then add the remaining sauce in the can.
  3. Next, add both cans of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 TB of Kosher salt and 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper. Stir the tomatoes and seasonings together.
  4. Add the red wine and stir again.
  5. Allow the sauce to come to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover and allow the sauce to simmer for at least 30 min but for as long as 3 - 4 hours. Continue tasting the sauce and add more salt pepper or wine, if needed.
  6. Before using sauce, add torn basil leaves into sauce, stir, and allow sauce to cook for about 5 more minutes, covered.
Notes
  1. This sauce will keep well in the fridge for about 1 week. It will actually taste better the following day.
  2. It will also keep well in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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