Homemade tomato sauce tastes so much better than store-bought. The flavor from all the ingredients coming together in a long, slow simmer puts the jarred stuff to shame. It is easy to make a big batch and then divide it up in containers to freeze for later use. Take a little time on the weekend to make it and then you have it on hand for quick weeknight meals.
This sauce is smooth in texture. It comes from putting all the veggies and herbs in a blender and basically liquefying them together. Using this method, there are not any chunks of onions, carrots, etc. in the sauce. Where does this method come from? I learned it from my mother. She used this trick when making meat sauce because she knew her kids would not eat it otherwise. There was absolutely no way I would eat a piece of onion back then. My tastes have certainly changed. Bring on the onions now!
The tomato sauce is versatile. You can use it as-is for a vegetarian pasta dish. Add meatballs or browned meat (beef, turkey, pork) to make a meat sauce. Make a hearty sandwich using a hoagie roll with browned or grilled Italian sausage links inside and topped with the sauce. Also great to use as a pizza sauce.
What is your favorite dish with tomato sauce? Lasagna? Spaghetti with meat sauce? Stuffed shells? Take the time to make a sauce and taste the difference in those meals. You will enjoy a deeper level of flavor that only homemade can offer.
Homemade Tomato Sauce
- 4 fresh basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped in 1-inch pieces
- 1 small carrot chopped in 1-inch pieces
- 1 onion chopped
- 1/2 small green bell pepper chopped
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes 28 ounces each
- 1 box Pomi tomato sauce 17.64 ounces
- 2 ounces tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 bay leaves
Put basil, garlic, celery, carrot, onion and green pepper in a blender. Add a little water (about 1/2 cup) and blend on high until smooth. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, add blended and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Bring to a low boil then turn down the heat to low. Cover loosely and simmer for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. Remove bay leaves before serving.
For a spicier sauce add some red pepper flakes. Add browned ground beef, pork, and/or turkey to make a meat sauce. If the sauce tastes too acidic you can add unsalted butter 1 tablespoon at a time until it rounds out the flavor (1 to 4 tablespoons).