It has occurred to me that I spend a lot of time posting the things that I bake using only the things that I normally keep in my pantry, but I haven’t posted much about the stuff that I cook using only the things that I normally keep in my pantry. When I posted the Lazy Lasagna recipe yesterday, I realized that I had never pointed out how I generally make my sauce. I almost always make my own tomato sauce, mostly because it’s easy, I know exactly what I am getting, and I can make any adjustments to its viscosity or creaminess I think necessary, depending on whether it’s for pasta, pizza, lasagna, casserole or whatever. If you need it thinner, just add water a little bit at a time until it reaches the consistency you need. If you want it thicker, simmer it with the lid off so the water boils out until it reaches the consistency you need. My sauce recipe is based on the recipe used in The Godfather. I had watched the movie, but my dad actually taught me how to make the sauce later.
Olive oil (In a pinch, I’ll use vegetable oil. Few people can really taste the difference.)
2 garlic cloves
Italian herbs (I use oregano and basil.)
1/2 a yellow Onion (optional. I only use this if I have it and want to use it up)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
Heat your sauce pan on medium low heat. Crush the garlic cloves and dice the yellow onion. Splash some olive oil into the hot pan and add the garlic and onion and herbs. Cook them stirring constantly until the onion turns translucent and the garlic starts to carmelize. Do not let either the onion or the garlic burn. You are basically just bringing the flavor out and flavoring the oil with it.
Add the diced tomatoes and turn the heat down to low. If you don’t have a large can of diced tomatoes, you can always dice 2 or so large tomatoes yourself. I don’t have that kind of patience, and tomatoes tend to go bad in my fridge before I use them. If I have them, I use them. Otherwise, it’s the can for me. Add the tomato paste. If you don’t have tomato paste, add a third of a cup of sugar and a tablespoon of flour. Mix the sauce well and allow it to simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add more herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
For a creamy tomato sauce, add cream or milk to desired texture and color. You can add parmesan or grated romano cheese as well or instead.