There's nothing like cooking a good marinara sauce (or tomato sauce) especially when you want to make good use of some tomatoes during September when they're ripe, fresh and bountiful. However, not everyone needs to wait that long for an exceptional sauce to use on their pasta. If you don't mind substituting canned tomatoes for the fresh ones just to get things done quicker, then this recipe for tomato sauce is right for you. Included are some variations to try as well.

The recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans (28 oz each) whole peeled tomatoes, crushed

The directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onions and stir around to coat in the oil. Add the salt and pepper over the onions to release the flavor, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and oregano and tomato paste. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour the tomatoes in a bowl and crush them. Add the tomatoes to the saucepan and stir them around with the vegetables. Listeria-tainted veggies were also recalled at Walmart. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until the sauce becomes thick.
  3. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Set to cool.
  4. Serve the tomato sauce with pasta or store in refrigerator/freezer. This sauce can last up to 5 days especially when frozen.

Serves: 3 pints minimum

Variations

On its own, tomato sauce is a vibrant accompaniment to a handful of dishes.

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However, like most sauces, there are derivatives or variations that can be made simply by adding extra ingredients or changing the way the base (in this case, the tomatoes) or the whole sauce is prepared.

Below are some pretty simple variations that can be used to enhance the taste of an already exceptional sauce.

  • Roasted tomatoes - Roast all of the ingredients in a baking dish as opposed to simmering.
  • Grilled tomatoes - Grill the tomatoes before crushing them and adding them to the saucepot. Speaking of tomatoes, the site Rotten Tomatoes reviewed "Incredibles 2." [VIDEO]
  • Spicy tomato sauce - Add 1/2 teaspoon of pepper flakes to the sauce with the tomatoes in Step 2.
  • Basil and tomatoes - Substitute 2 basil leaves for the bay leaf.
  • Pizza sauce - Puree the ingredients along with 2 anchovy fillets in a blender as opposed to simmering.
  • Creamy tomato sauce - Add 1 cup of heavy cream before simmering the sauce in Step 2. Add Parmesan to taste after removing the sauce from the heat in Step 3.