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Tomato sauce, in my house, is a staple. This is the base several recipes, but works beautifully on its own as an amazingly badass all purpose sauce. Its origins are arguable, but lets leave that to the Italians, who make arguing a sport, ha!
In reality, I make this sauce at least twice/week for one reason or another. Most recently it was to accompany the italian meatballs from my last blog post. Otherwise just with pasta is easy, or a longer reduction can make an easy pizza sauce, or add roasted sausage & peppers for a heartier rustic sauce. Regardless, this perfect recipe is possible in under 10 minutes and it’s hard to complain about that.
Start by bringing the oil up to medium-high heat. Add the diced garlic, chili and basil stalks to the oil and let fry for about 1 minute. The whole point of this process is to flavour the oil enough that those flavours will permeate the rest of the sauce. If at any point the oil begins to smoke or the basil turns brown, then you have burnt it. Don’t cry, just start over. I have done this several times while I distracted in the kitchen with other things, but I promise its worth it to start over.
Before the garlic burns, add the tomatoes. This is a preference, but I always us Unico, whole tomatoes which I quickly blitz in the magic bullet. I find this is better than crushed or diced tomatoes because the higher water content allows for a the necessary simmering process. Immediately add oregano, salt & pepper to taste. Some tomatoes are more acidic, and if you don’t have 30 plus minutes to cook that acid out of the sauce, just add a pinch of sugar and that will balance it quickly.
Let the sauce come to boil before reducing to simmer for about 6-8 minutes. Just before you are ready to use the sauce, stir in the chopped basil and serve.
Tomato Sauce Recipe (serves 4 with pasta)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 small red chili, sliced thin
- 1 good handful fresh basil – stems diced, leaves chopped
- 1 large can whole (or crushed) tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 pinch of sugar (if required)
At first glance, a fresh chili looks intimidating, but rather than intense heat it adds surprising freshness. Just don’t over do it and you won’t have it any other way.that does not come with dried chilis. Same goes for the basil – I understand fresh basil isn’t always abundant, but there is no real substitute so use it when you can. I started making this about 10 years ago, and if there was 5 things any person should know how to cook inside & out, this is certainly near the top of the list.
Life is Good, Tomato Sauce is Better.