Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bento for Baby Recipe: Twenty-Minute Tomato Sauce

This recipe is based on Maria’s Twenty-Minute Tomato Sauce from my well worn copy of the Joy of Cooking(1997 edition).  I haven't bought a jar of tomato sauce in 15 years.  Why would you when this recipe is so easy and tastes better than anything in a jar?  It also doesn't have any extra sodium, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, "natural flavors," or any other mystery ingredients you don't need to be eating.  This freezes well, but I mostly just make it every time I need some tomato sauce since it's so quick and easy.  I use it over pasta, on pizza, with calzones, in baked pasta dishes like cannelloni, lasagna. . . basically anywhere you need some red sauce.  


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2-3 medium carrots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice, broken into pieces (Diced is OK, too)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and ground pepper to taste


Heat olive oil  in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the dried herbs.  Cook for a few seconds and then pour in the tomatoes.  Simmer, uncovered, until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.

Remove pot from stove and blend with an immersion blender, or remove to a food processor and pulse until smooth (CAREFULLY).  If you used a food processor, return sauce to saucepan.  Put the saucepan back on medium heat and stir in balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Heat through, about 5 minutes.

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