Instructables

Basic Tomato Sauce

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Picture of Basic Tomato Sauce
This is an easy tomato sauce that you can make from canned tomatoes and season to your tastes. It'll take about a half hour and requires very little work. And it's 8 million times better than the stuff you'll get in a jar.

Step 1: Ingredients:

Picture of Ingredients:
  • one 28 oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, no salt or low salt preferred
  • one medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Italian seasoning or oregano & basil
  • red chili flakes or dried red chilies
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive, canola or vegetable oil, for sauteing
You'll notice I didn't put exact measurements for many of the ingredients - you'll do pinches here and there to taste. If you like a sweeter tomato sauce, add extra basil. If you like stronger tomato sauces, add more oregano and/or chiles.

I also prefer crushed tomatoes to tomato sauce - crushed has a lot more body and some chunks. But sauce is great if you like little to no chunks.

If you'd like to do a marinara style sauce, use half an onion and equal amounts of diced carrots and celery. They add tons of flavor!

Step 2: Dice onion, mince garlic.

Picture of Dice onion, mince garlic.
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You can mince the onion too - it's all personal taste. I even know people that grate the onion - all up to you.

Step 3: Saute the onions.

Picture of Saute the onions.
Add about a 1/2 tablespoon of oil to a pan, enough to cover the bottom. Heat over a medium flame until the oil shimmers.

Drop in your onions, and cook until soft and slightly translucent.

Step 4: Add garlic, herbs and spices!

Picture of Add garlic, herbs and spices!
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, making sure to stir often. Now you'll add your seasonings!

I like to add a good pinch of salt and black pepper to start, at least one red chili or about 1/2 tsp red chili flakes, and at least a teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning. 

Stir this around and cook until very fragrant.
 
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whelp2 years ago
Dear Jessy,
Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, You are some lady.
Kind regards.
Jayefuu2 years ago
I had to google sriracha, sounds like it'd go well!
jessyratfink (author)  Jayefuu2 years ago
It is so good, you should locate a bottle and BECOME ONE OF US
*in monotone*

...one of us...
Adron2 years ago
I find an nice aged Basalmic Vinegar does wonders for any tomatoe sauces I've made.
sunshiine2 years ago
I will try this! I hate the bottled stuff but it always takes longer I thought to make your own. Thanks for sharing!
Sunshiine
rfakhre2 years ago
if you like that rooster sauce, try LEE KUM KEE brand sweet garlic chili sauce. i like it even better than sriracha (which i call rooster sauce). it has a fuller taste and you dont have to mix it with anything like ketchup, harder to find tho.
Paperduck2 years ago
Pretty much my favorite recipe, cheap and easy to make but so much more rewarding than just opening a can!
If you want to get a bit more fancy, I recommend adding one or two pieces of star anise. You might think that's a bit exotic for an otherwise traditional italian tomato sauce but it really just helps rounding it off. Don't forget to take them out again before you serve/puree it.
jessyratfink (author)  Paperduck2 years ago
That sounds wonderful. I might have to get a little bit to try that. :)
tbirchett2 years ago
I did this for year until I found out about the health dangers of tin canned tomatoes. Now I use tomatoes from glass jars, tetrapaks, or fresh.

See this link for more info:
http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/the-7-foods-experts-wont-eat-547963.html
drzcyy2 years ago
Can this sauce be made from fresh tomatoes? Do you have an instructable on how to do it? Thanks!
jessyratfink (author)  drzcyy2 years ago
You definitely can! I do it whenever I buy too many tomatoes or my friends unload some on me. I'd say it takes a few large tomatoes or a medium container of cherry or grape tomatoes.

Depending on your preference, you can peel the tomatoes or not. (http://www.joyfulabode.com/2008/05/04/how-to-easily-peel-tomatoes/) I never do, but some people hate the peels. I always de-seed them, though! Only they're cleaned out and possibly peeled, roughly cut them into chunks and throw them in a hot pan with some olive oil and diced onion and let them cook down for a few minutes. Mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon and add some salt to get the onions and tomatoes to release some water.

After the onions are soft, add the garlic and spices and saute for a moment, and then add a small amount of water (normally no more than 1/2 cup) to make it more saucy and let it simmer for 15 minutes with a lid on, and then break up the tomatoes some more. You just keep beating up the tomatoes and adding water until it's a consistency you like, really. :) I like mine chunky, but you could always blend it, too.
Thanks!
use crushed or whole (then you puree them) , tomato sauce IS nothing more then tomato paste and water, which is ok if you use it with a few cans of home puree'd whole tomato. Sauce made just from paste is limp.

Celery is not added to sauce, gravy (like chicken/beef/lamb) yes yes yes, not tomato sauce.

use crushed or whole (then you puree them) , tomato sauce IS nothing more then tomato paste and water, which is ok if you use it with a few cans of home puree'd whole tomato. Sauce made just from paste is limp.

Celery is not added to sauce, gravy (like chicken/beef/lamb) yes yes yes, not tomato sauce.

Oh yes FERGIT THE VINEGAR .......Are you making bar-BEEE-QUE sauce?

RED WINE is what you want.
jessyratfink (author)  spark master2 years ago
I never ever have red wine on hand. I just like the vinegar to give it a little bite. :)
leave it and celery out , although a teaspoon or so mightn't be noticeable. For Marinara (spling?) I do not add wine at all in. For red sauce OT Marinara I do. I have heard of many non Eyetalians who add lemon juice. In Sicilia , the land of Almonds and Lemons I have not met a single Siggie who uses lemons. They would add wine or brandy first.Never ever sugar (uneeded). Just do not over cook sauce and it wll stay reasonably sweet. When in certain dishes you want it very sweet , you will find some do use a carrot I have known chefs who puree the carrot, less the people figure it out, since their claim is "we add no sugar".

Happy cooking I am off to make Stuffed peppers maybe mexican, maybe plain maybe Eyetalian, not sure yet..........mmmmmmm

billbillt2 years ago
Yes, Sriracha is GOOD. It is plenty HOT, and may be to powerful straight for some people..I mix it 50 - 50 with ketchup...NOM
jessyratfink (author)  billbillt2 years ago
I do that too with the ketchup! It's great on sweet potato fries.
l8nite2 years ago
8million times better may be stretching it a bit...maybe 5million?

When I'm in a hurry I add a jar of chunky salsa to a jar of sauce, some extra spices and what nots and let it simmer for a bit.

When I have the time I do pretty much like you did except I use a slow cooker and fire roasted tomatoes, the ingredients you listed along with bell peppers and a good red wine. After it has cooked awhile I hit it with an immersion blender.

For a meatier tasting sauce, add roasted beef or lamb bones to the cooking sauce.

For a spicier sauce (mine when not expecting company) add some jalapenos or habaneros
jessyratfink (author)  l8nite2 years ago
I'll take 5 million, still sounds impressive!

I do like adding bell peppers from time to time, and jalapenos too! So good.
ChapDad2 years ago
I survived on this and economy pasta for a whole term at University once (Vitamins? Moi?) and it never failed. Bit of parsley won't do you any harm.

Turkish cooking has pretty much the same thing, but with a tablespoon of sugar and some paprika. Pop it on your nachos, or with your shish kebabs. I feel an Instructable coming on...
jessyratfink (author)  ChapDad2 years ago
Do it, do it! We always need more food instructables, and that sounds lovely. :)
sitearm2 years ago
@jessyratfink; Thank you! This is on its way to my learning-to-cook son and his fiance. Cheers! : ) site
jessyratfink (author)  sitearm2 years ago
Awesome! I hope they like it. :D
Eleventy2 years ago
I think "8 million times better" is a conservative estimate :-)

Even if all you have in the house is a can of tomatoes and a clove of garlic (and olive oil/salt/pepper), this beats the pants off most jarred sauces. And given that it can be made in the time it takes to bring your pasta water to boil and cook your pasta, there is hardly a time when you would have an excuse not to make homemade sauce.

Warning: once you've developed a taste for this homemade kind, you will no longer enjoy the jarred stuff. Here's a tip if this happens, and you still want to be able to have an emergency-backup jar in the pantry: look for a brand that uses *no* sugar (or sugar-like-substance) in the ingredients list. Those are more acceptable to the palate that has been spoiled in this way. :-) My store carries only one, called Francesco Rinaldi Tobe Healthy, and I like the Tomato & Basil (only when I am feeling super-lazy, or short on ingredients).
jessyratfink (author)  Eleventy2 years ago
That's a good tip about looking for the no sugar tomato sauces! I tend to go with Newman's Own if I'm feeling lazy, because they're the closest I can find to homemade.

I actually live in Sri Racha for a few months!
jessyratfink (author)  zhenpenthaye2 years ago
That's awesome. I would love to go to Thailand someday.
kuato2 years ago
Do you add Sriracha to everything? Not that I'm complaining, I actually do the same thing. :)
jessyratfink (author)  kuato2 years ago
Yes, pretty much. Tacos, nachos, tomato sauce, sour cream, sandwiches, beans, noodles, rice... you name it, sriracha has been on it.