So, here’s one of the easiest, tastiest tomato sauces I’ve ever made from scratch. It’s my aunt’s staple tomato sauce, and believe it or not, it comes from a cookbook for baby and toddler food! The cookbook is called Mommy Made and Daddy Too! Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby and Toddler. I love this cookbook because it has basic directions on how to cook/steam/bake foods for your child, as well as AAP guidelines for introducing foods to your child (what foods, when, and what kinds of allergic reactions to watch for). It also (obviously) has more intricate recipes, such as the tomato sauce I’m about to share with you, pizza dough, granola, couscous, meatloaf, and potato pancakes! I used it to make most of Jack’s baby food and now, I’m finding it has many delicious recipes for the whole family.
Yields 1 quart
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced (I tend to use about 3 🙂 )
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 small bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in a 2 & 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until garlic aroma is evident. Reduce heat to low, add tomato paste, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil (careful, it splattters!). Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 1 quart.
To make tomato sauce with herbs, add the following to the sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking (I just throw the herbs in with the bay leaf and salt and pepper):
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
2 tsp chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/4 tsp dried
To make meat sauce:
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef
Saute beef in olive oil until no longer pink and fat is rendered. Drain. Add cooked beef with herbs to basic sauce during last 30 minutes of cooking.
A few tips:
This sauce makes a lot more than Ryan, Jack and I can eat in one night. I have realized that it’s very convenient, when making the herb sauce variation, to serve it over pasta and then save the rest for a pizza the next night (or so). Or, when making the meat sauce, if I’m not sure whether or not we’ll be around to eat it for leftovers for the next few days, it freezes very well. I like to divide it up into portion sizes so that it can easily be thawed for one person’s meal. Additionally, this makes a great dipping sauce for a freshly baked loaf of French or sourdough bread. 🙂
Enjoy, and let me know if you try it!