This is a basic homemade tomato sauce.  It can be customized for spaghetti, pizza, or pasta of your choice.  I have centered this sauce around my form of cooking (as most of my recipes are).  My form of cooking is mostly using preserved food.  We can’t afford fresh food, and therefore only get it when it comes from our garden (but in all honesty, I don’t want the other “fresh” stuff anyway.  It’s nasty).  So, here’s how to make a basic tomato sauce from your own preserved foods.  I do NOT recommend a cast iron skillet for this.

  • 3/4c chopped onion
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic-minced
  • one mason jar of canned tomatoes (quart)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • basil
  • oregano

Throw the garlic and onion in the pan with the oil and fry until “transparent”.  Now, let’s be honest.  Does anyone actually get this?  For me, I fry it on “5” on the knob and stir it around until it smells real good and the garlic is cooked.  But in all truth, you don’t really have to do it that much.  Let’s face it, it’s going to be cooked for a good long while after this.  You do want the garlic toasted a tad, however, for flavor’s sake.  And as before, use olive oil only for this.  Anything else will ruin it.

Now, add the tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bay leaf.  I sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt, and only sometimes add the sugar.  That’s a part you can experiment with.  I have made this without the bay leaf, and it does make a difference, so please don’t leave it out.  You can see from my picture that I took these on a day we had fresh ones from the garden.

basic tomato sauce

You’re going to want to simmer this for 90 minutes.  You may need to add water periodically, so keep an eye on it.  Bare in mind your desired thickness.  After the 90 minutes, add the herbs and simmer another 30, adding water as necessary.  I crumble up about two basil leaves, or chop several, and several oregano leaves.  (Do NOT store your dry herbs already chopped up.  You lose all the flavor.)

When you’re done, it should look like this:

finished tomato sauce

Don’t forget to take out your bay leaf.  This is a basic tomato sauce.  It’s great by itself for pizza sauce, but you will probably want to make adjustments for spaghetti and the like.  While I do not recommend cast iron for this sauce, I do recommend the Wearever cookware that we now use for all our “nonstick” needs.  It comes with ceramic lining instead of Teflon, and should, therefore, be safer to use.  We currently own and use the first set in white.  My personal favorite to use is the last link.  A deep dish skillet.