During the winter months in particular, I'm always going through tomato sauce. Whether its for pasta, a dip for roasted veggies or for my all time favorite winter dish- Eggplant Parm! Recipe for that coming soon. There are tons of great quality store bought sauces out there but I've found nothing really compares to a homemade tomato sauce. It's so easy to make, especially in the winter when you don't have to feel guilty about using canned tomatoes because fresh tomatoes aren't in season. If I had a nickel for every tomato I peeled at Ballymaloe...ew, actually I can't go there. Anyhoo, I've been working on a homemade tomato sauce that I think I'm finally happy with! I have become somewhat herb obsessed post school so I tried to put a good blend into this sauce. Enjoy!
Homemade Tomato Sauce- makes approximately 6 cups
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
24 basil leaves, roughly chopped (or more if you're a basil freak like me!)
1 TBS fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds
a pinch (or two or three!) red pepper flakes
4 TBS tomato paste
2 x 28oz cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 tsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup red wine
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion becomes soft. Add in basil, thyme, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. This should start to stick to the bottom of the pan- don't worry! We will deglaze with crushed tomatoes and wine.
2. After tomato paste cooks and gets incorporated, add the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add the wine. When the smell of wine is gone from the steam, the alcohol has evaporated. Season to taste with a generous amount of salt as well as pepper and a teaspoon of sugar. The sugar will help to bring out the natural sweetness in the tomatoes.
3. Bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring often, for about 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and slightly reduced. It is now ready to serve!
Note: Tomato sauce freezes quite well. Let the sauce come to room temperature then package it and put in the freezer.