Hey Everyone!! :-)
Today, I thought I'd share my recipe for tomato sauce with you. There are so many dishes that call for either a lot or a little tomato sauce, and the quality of the sauce can make or break those meals. Hopefully, you'll think this sauce is as good as I do. :-)
8 large tomatoes or two large cans of tomatoes
1 large onion finely chopped
10 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup chopped basil (fresh is best but dried will do in a pinch)
4 tbsp chopped or dried oregano
2 tbsp chopped or dried parsley
2 tbsp fennel seeds
4 tsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine (Burgundy or Merlot work well) or 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese grated
1 chili pepper deseeded and chopped or 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Put the olive oil, garlic, onion, fennel seeds, the pepper if you are using it, and any dried herbs you are using in your sauce pot and heat on low until the oil begins to sizzle. Stir the contents of the pot over low heat and allow the seasonings to infuse into the oil a bit, and then add the wine or wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce continue stirring.
The tomatoes can be added either whole or as a puree, depending on how chunky you like your sauce. If you are using canned tomatoes, you can just add them directly from the can or put them in a blender and puree them and then add them. Canned tomatoes usually need to be cooked a bit longer so that the metallic taste disappears. If you add the tomatoes whole, you can use a potato masher to mush them up in the sauce pot so that they'll cook down into a sauce. If you are using fresh tomatoes, you can add them with or without the skins. If you like the skins, either add them whole or puree them in a blender and add them. If you want the skins removed, place the tomatoes in boiling water for a couple of seconds and then shock them in ice water. The skins should rub right off with a paper towel. Again, mush them up so that they'll cook down if you add them whole.
Slowly stir in the tomatoes or tomato puree and fresh herbs, but reserve half the parsley and half the basil. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring continuously, and then reduce the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for an hour or two, stirring occasionally. Stir in the grated cheese and the reserved herbs and taste the sauce. Adjust the salt and seasonings to suit your taste and allow the sauce to cool. The sauce is better the second day, so allowing it to sit in the fridge overnight is a good idea.
If you'd like a slightly chunkier sauce, you can also add mushrooms at the beginning when you cook the onions. A teaspoon of harissa paste instead of a chili pepper adds a slightly sweeter spice to the sauce. A cup of milk or half a cup of cream stirred in at the end makes the sauce creamier.
As with other things, I prefer my tomato sauce without meat. But if you want to add meat, you can add Italian sausage or ground beef to the pot before adding the garlic and other ingredients. Just make sure you cook the meat completely before adding anything else because food poisoning sucks. You can also add pre-cooked meat or meatballs to the sauce when you add the olive oil and other ingredients.