There is no substitute for homemade Italian tomato sauce.
This is an original recipe developed by Chef Dave of NewItalianRecipes.com. Believe Chef Dave on this one (after all, he has run a few really popular restaurants): any Professional Italian chef worth his salt, will never use canned tomato sauce when he/she has the time and ingredients to make a fresh homemade one. Now, these "artistes" might use canned tomatoes for the base. That's acceptable, especially considering the fact tomatoes canned at their peak of flavorful perfection are far superior to fresh ones that have been engineered to be shipped by bouncy carriers without even mildly bruising!
But it's the other ingredients that make homemade tomato sauce so awesome. You can add capers and sliced ripe olives and make it a Neapolitan Sauce. You can add intensely flavored herbs like rosemary, Italian parsley, basil, Yum!
You can even add brandy (Dave does it all the time), but red wine is pretty good in this tomato sauce. Or just add both! Give it a final boost with a t or 2 of fresh lemon juice.
New Italian Recipes Presents:
Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 red or green bell pepper, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
4-5 cloves finely sliced garlic
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 balsamic vinegar
2 T Butter Buds or butter
1 28 oz. can of whole, peeled, Italian tomatoes, mashed into smaller pieces
1 28 oz. can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped coarsely (optional)
Spices: You can use 2 - 3 T Italian seasoning or a mixture of the following.16 ounces fresh or dried spaghetti type long pasta, cooked al dente and drained (whole wheat pasta is okay if you'd rather.)
1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil or 1 T dried
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
3-4 sprigs fresh oregano or 1 T dried
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup minced black olives (optional)
1 T fresh lemon juice (optional)
3 T brandy (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil over medium in a soup-type pot with cover.
Flavor Layer 1: Add onions, bell pepper, garlic and celery. Stir well to coat with oil. Add 1 t salt.
Reduce heat to medium low and cover, simmering slowly about 6-8 minutes so the vegetables release some of their juices.
Layer 2: Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar. With pan uncovered, reduce liquid for 6-8 minutes. It should thicken a bit.
Layer 3: Add butter buds, stir well and cover again for 2 or 3 minutes.
Layer 4: Add both cans of the tomatoes, also olives and mushrooms (if using).
Layer 5: Wrap the rosemary, thyme and oregano in piece of cheesecloth large enough to hold all (bouquet garni) and tie the end off with a string. Add to the sauce. (Note:) If you don't have fresh herbs, use 1 T dried basil 1 T dried rosemary, 1 T dried thyme, and 1 T dried oregano, or add about 2 - 3 T Italian seasoning which should have all of these in it.)
Simmer about 1/2 hour covered, then add meatballs.
Simmer about another half hour.
If the sauce becomes too thick during the cooking, thin with either chicken stock or tomato juice.
Taste a spoonful of the sauce. At this point, if the taste suits you, add the spaghetti (Italian pasta), mix it in, and you are done.
Serve with good, toasted garlic bread.
Garnish with Italian Parsley.
If you want to turn this sauce into Neapolitan Sauce, add 10-12 sliced ripe olives, and 1 1/2 T capers just before finishing.
Fresh Italian Parsley can be added at the end if you like it.For a nice twist, add 3-5 crushed and chopped anchovies(add these right into the olive oil you start the prepartion with). You talk about kicking something up a notch! Especially good in fish stew Cioppino (Italian Fish Soup)
This is really a kicked up version of traditional Italian red spaghetti sauce. I think you'll find it "invigorating". Let us know!
So, make a large batch of sauce and use what you need for the recipe you are preparing, then freeze the rest in batches for future recipes. You can thaw it out in the microwave or in warm water in no time. Restaurant chefs do it all the time, DOD can vouch for that. Why not you?
Buon appetito always!
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Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce