Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce
This recipe is one that I’m kinda sorta maybe really proud of, because it’s freaking DELICIOUS, and also super easy to make. Over my spring break, I first made this for my family to put over baked stuffed shells. The sauce was so tasty that I was using the shells that fell apart mid-boil to dip into the leftover sauce while the final product was baking.* My family also loved the sauce, which was very encouraging since they’re always the first to be honest about how my food actually tastes.
I’ve also noticed that it’s incredibly difficult to find a decent tomato sauce in the grocery store that’s also made without refined sugar. I found a pretty good all-natural pizza sauce once, but in general, none have lived up to my expectations. If you’re anything like me, you would much rather take the time to make something from scratch and be sure that it will turn out exactly how you want it. Thus, this tomato sauce was born. Plus, this is a fairly simple recipe and it makes 6 heaping cups of rich, sweet, flavorful tomato sauce, and probably costs less in total than it would to buy the same amount jarred. My version does contain 2-4 oz. dry red wine, (plus about 4 oz. to drink while cooking 😉 ) but you could easily omit that if you prefer not to cook with alcohol.
I collected inspiration from a few different recipes, but in the end tried to keep the ingredient list as small as possible. This was mostly so that I could have a go-to recipe that was both inexpensive and easy to make. The one recommendation I would make is that you buy crushed tomatoes WITHOUT basil for the sauce. For whatever reason, I just don’t think that tomatoes that have been canned with basil taste as good, and they have sort of a metallic aftertaste to me. Plus, when they’re available, using fresh herbs is always best anyway. The photo above features purple basil, which is the only thing I could find fresh in my grocery store, but it worked just as well. I used canned tomatoes to save time because I’m a college student with things to do (and because San Marzano tomatoes are amazzzzzzing), so if you’re a purist, unfortunately I can’t really help you. Tharry.
*I maintain zero shame over this.
- 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 med-large red bell pepper
- 1 med-large yellow onion
- 28 oz. can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (without basil)
- 2-4 oz. dry red wine
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil and garlic on medium heat, distributing the garlic occasionally.
- Add the onion and red bell pepper and cover, stirring occasionally until very soft.
- Add the red wine and stir. Once wine has cooked off (evaporated), add the crushed tomatoes and basil, and stir. When the mixture starts to bubble, lower heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer ingredients to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and purée until smooth or at your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.