Saturday, June 12, 2010

Basic bright red tomato sauce

This is my go-to tomato sauce for so many reasons. So easy and so delicious, you'll have a tasty, healthy meal put together in no time.  It's a simple recipe with basic ingredients that work really well together to let all the flavors shine through.  Ideal for pastas, thin-crust pizzas, lasagnas, and grilled fish, this light and lively tomato sauce is perfect for a summer meal.
Perfect in its simplicity, this sauce stands strong on its own.  But, if you choose to, you can jazz it up in a million different ways.  For a more sophisticated sauce, add some roasted red peppers and balsamic vinegar.  Toss in some onions, capers, olives, and/or anchovies for a Mediterranean flair.  Add lemon zest for an unexpected boost in flavor or cinnamon and nutmeg for a spiced tomato sauce.  The possibilities are endless, I'd love to hear of any sauce traditions that you have or any new additions that you may come up with.

Try to find pure crushed tomatoes without any added garlic or herbs. I also try to buy organic crushed tomatoes, but I often only come across the Muir Glen blend with basil, which actually works just fine.  It keeps well in the refrigerator for 5-7 days and it also freezes nicely.

Basic Tomato Sauce
 2 tbsp good olive olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
2 tsp basil, chopped finely

In a large saucepan saute olive oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper over medium heat for 2 minutes, take care not to let the garlic brown. Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, and black pepper.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 25 minutes.  Stir in the herbs and serve with your favorite pasta. This sauce can be refrigerated for up to one week.


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