This year we finished up our annual day of tomato canning with over 100 jars of crushed perfection. Alas, no matter how many we make, it’s never enough to last through the year. You’d think we were dealing with gold bars the way everyone in my family gets all greedy and stealth-like when dividing up the shares. I kid you not when I say I have had to smuggle jars out of my house to share with friends, and even my grandmother. It’s never pretty, but that’s just how treasure is.
So, until my allotment runs out, I’ll be feasting on my favorite meals and not rationing properly at all. Of course, all my favorites start with tomato sauce.
Basic Tomato Sauce
Makes about 6-8 servings (I always make at least this much so there is extra to freeze.)
2 one qt. jars (or 2 28oz store bought cans of whole tomatoes*)
1 large yellow onion
a few fresh basil leaves
sea salt to taste
extra virgin olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves (whole)
*Store bought canned tomatoes often contain citric acid and other additives. Because tomatoes are naturally quite acidic, they stay well preserved without additives. Look for a brand that contains just tomatoes, or tomatoes and fresh basil.
In a large, deep sauce pot heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on med-low. I use a deep pot because the sauce doesn’t lose as much water while cooking and ends up with a better consistency.
While it’s heating, slice your onion as thinly as possible. When the oil is nice and hot, add onions and allow them to caramelize on low for 5-10 minutes. Make sure that they do not start to brown.
Once the onions are translucent, add in your tomatoes. Here’s a tip: pour the tomatoes over the back of a wooden spoon to keep from splattering yourself.
Turn up the heat and bring everything to a slow boil. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer. Stir in in the garlic cloves, basil and a pinch or two of salt. Simmer on low, covered, for at least 45 minutes. If you have the time, you can let it cook for longer. Stir every 15-20 minutes with a wooden spoon.
During the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove the lid to allow the sauce to thicken up. Taste again and add more salt if necessary.
Freeze the unused portion for quick weeknight meals.