This recipe is the base for so much goodness! It's a perfect example of how a bit of time in the kitchen (not much more than if you simmered a canned or jarred version to be honest) can give you an amazing start to many meals.
I started making my own pasta sauce years ago when we happened to get a free issue of Cooks Illustrated that included a recipe using canned tomatoes. Over the years I’ve tweaked that recipe, playing with the herbs, ratios, and even trying fresh tomatoes (hint use tomato paste to avoid a very thin sauce), and have always had a winner. I love this sauce and I hope you do too!
Simply Tasty Pasta Sauce
Makes: 3 12 ounce jars | Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 25-30 mins
- 2 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes or finely diced tomatoes (Don't skimp on good quality. I prefer Mutti finely diced as they have a wonderful flavor and are very close to crushed)
- 1/2 cup of onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 6 leaves of fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder (more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of parsley
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- 2 teaspoon sugar, divided in half
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Add the butter to a large saucepan and heat over medium low heat until butter melts, swirling the butter to coat the pan.
- Add onion and cook 10-15 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. Note it is super important to give the onions time to cook. They will give the sauce a rich flavor as they golden in color. Do make sure not to over do it and burn them, that will result in a more bitter flavor.
- Once the onion has a golden color, stir and add the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Gradually add the tomatoes, mixing throughly after each addition.
- Add all spices and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the tomato mixture (omit the basil if using fresh and not dried).
- Stir until well combined and gently boil for 5 minutes.
- Taste sauce and add remaining sugar and additional dried spices to taste. Lower heat to low setting and allow to simmer for an additional 5 minutes, again tasting and adding any additional dried spices as desired.
- Once you have reached desired flavor. simmer for 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally (you may simmer uncovered or covered if you wish).
- Remove from heat and add olive oil and fresh basil (if used) and stir.
Serve immediately over your favorite pasta or meats, or cool and store in containers.
- If you use fresh basil in this recipe do not add it in with the dried spices. The fresh basil will wilt and have a bit of a bitter flavor if simmered for this long. The dried will hold up to simmering better and does need this to release all of it's basil goodness.
- This sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (though in my house it does not last that long!).
- Pair it with my Basic French Bread, some pasta and good parmesan and this is a wonderful housewarming or new parent, get well, thinking of you, or just because gift.