So it has been a while since my last post, I have been caught up with the move to California and enjoying life out here. So my first post back from my little hiatus, I want it to be a special one!
Sunday’s have always been about Italian food growing up. We would either make an Italian dish or bring in take-out (Note: my family would get take-out, not my husbands). That tradition definitely took a step up when I moved away from home with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. Sunday dinners weren’t just a place for family to gather around the table, it turned into a day where we can sit back and relax with our new friends and enjoy the last day of the week. One of the main components of our Sunday dinners has always been the red tomato sauce, which just happens to be my husband, Mike’s #1 recipe. This sauce is so good, I have to fight the urge to eat it like soup. I also cannot take credit for this recipe, it is all Mike’s doing. I am just the one that buys the ingredients at the store, so I am like a sous chef!
This sauce is great as a base for a lot of traditional italian dishes, such as eggplant/chicken/veal parmesan, baked ziti, lasagna and our favorite alla vodka sauce. You can even use it on pizza if you like a heavier red sauce topping. Mike will make a large batch of this sauce once every other month (or when we run low) and we end up freezing it. When we are ready to use, just defrost, empty the sauce from the container into a sauce pan and reheat. So if you are looking for a freezer meal, this is a great one to have on hand.
The ingredients are fairly simple; We use canned peeled tomatoes, such as Cento brand, which you can find at any supermarket. Cento is probably one of the more cost effective brands, but made with great product, the San Marzano tomato. You can get the already crushed tomatoes, but we like the peeled ones, because you can control the consistency of the sauce. These cans of tomato are a great pantry staple, we will always have a couple of cans on our shelves.
First we mince of the garlic and onion with our mini food processor, if you don’t have one, you can just chop by hand, but make sure it is a fine chop. Then add to a stock pot with the heated olive oil.
Next you add the tomatoes and use an immersion blender to break up the tomatoes into a minimal chunky puree. Note: you can use a blender, which is a little bit messier or a fork/wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes, but a immersion blender is definitely a great tool to have in your kitchen, you can even purchase one in the $20 range.
After you reach the consistency that you like, add the basil, parsley, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Bring it to a slight boil and then simmer. Try to wait a bit before adding more salt and pepper, let the flavors marry. After a few minutes if the tomatoes are a slightly acidic feel free to add the optional sugar. We rarely add sugar but it just depends on the tomatoes. All you have to do after this is, is let the sauce simmer for a few hours and stir occasionally. You can use it that day or let the sauce cool, then divide into containers to store in the freezer. Another great Italian staple we love to add to the sauce are meatballs! That recipe will be coming up next…
Fredo’s Tomato Sauce
makes 20 cups of sauce or five 4 cup containers
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup medium yellow onion, finely chopped
5 28oz cans Italian style peeled tomatoes, such as Cento brand
12 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp sugar, optional
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, sauté for about 2 minutes, until the onions have soften, make sure not to burn. Add the canned tomatoes and with an immersion blender, pulse to break up the tomatoes so there is no longer and large chunks of tomato. Add the basil, parsley, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and stir. Bring the sauce to a soft boil, then simmer on low. Taste the sauce and see if it needs additional seasoning, if the sauce is to acidic add the optional sugar. Simmer on low for for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with your favorite pasta or add meatballs.
Note: To store the sauce, cool the sauce and divide into freezer containers. Make sure the sauce is fully cooled to room temperature before storing in the freezer.