New Italian Recipes Presents:
Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed with flat of knife and sliced thinly
1/2 to 1 cup diced, fresh basil. (It's your call. We usually use close to a cup)
1/2 cup red wine. (Good enough quality to drink)
1 T turbinado (raw) sugar (or Splenda)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes.
1 t lemon juice (optional)
3 T brandy (optional)
If you have good fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water until the skins are loose and wrinkled. Cool in cold water and remove skins before dicing. If you squeeze through strainer with mesh small enough to catch the seeds, the removal of the seeds will make the sauce a little less bitter. We usually don't remove the seeds. We can't tell that it makes enough difference to go to the trouble)
Sauté onions in olive oil over low heat, covered, for 10-12 minutes.
Add garlic and basil, re-cover, for another 5 minutes or so.
Uncover and add wine. Reduce by about half.
Add tomatoes and S & P and simmer for 15 minutes. You can reduce the sauce further and intensify the flavor. We like to add the brandy and lemon juice about 3-4 minutes before finishing.
If you want to turn this sauce into Neapolitan Sauce, add 10-12 sliced ripe olives, and 1 1/2 T capers just before finishing.
Fresh Italian Parsley can be added at the end if you like it.
For a nice twist, add 3-5 crushed and chopped anchovies. You talk about kicking something up a notch! Especially good in fish stew (Cioppino). Yum!!!
Write it down and star it, pupils: This tangy tomato sauce can be used virtually anytime when you would like a juiced-up alternative to a can of tomatoes called for in a recipe. It's worth the effort!
Note: You can double this easily, but adding 3-5 more cloves of garlic is not necessary unless you are a garlic hound like us. (If you can believe it, we've actually heard there are some people who do not like garlic! Hard to believe, but I guess it's true. Pity for them!) Obviously, these people are "not" Italian, even at heart!
So, make a large batch of sauce and use what you need for the recipe you are preparing, then freeze the rest in batches for future recipes. You can thaw it out in the microwave or in warm water in no time. Restaurant chefs do it all the time, DOD can vouch for that. Why not you?