I know there are a lot of jarred and canned tomato sauces out there that you can buy (believe me, I have tried them), but if you would like to make your own, maybe this one will be a good start.
This recipe is originally from my mother. I have modified it over the years to suit my own taste and you can certainly do that too. What makes this sauce unique, though, is the addition of beef bouillon. There is a debate out there in the culinary world, on whether it should be tomato sauce or gravy! In college I met a young woman whose mother made tomato gravy. It was a tomato sauce but it was simmered with a beef bone. Very delicious. I am sure my mother was trying to get that deeper flavor with the addition of the beef bouillon.
Below is my well worn recipe card. When I was making sauce one day, I told my son I could hardly read my recipe anymore! He volunteered to write it again for me in pen (not with a red Sharpie, as I had done). He was probably 10 at the time. The 3x 5 card to the right is his contribution.
Since I have made this recipe many times, I of course have an opinion on brands of tomatoes! For many years I used ‘Progresso Crushed Tomatoes with Added Puree’. But about a year ago, I had a very difficult time finding them. Finally I called Progresso and asked them, Where was their product? I was told that they had discontinued their entire tomato line. Wow! Now what….
So I went on-line and searched for a highly rated crushed tomato and finally settled on ‘Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomato with Basil’. It’s very similar to the Progresso. But experiment, you might find one that you like better.
Also, if it is summer (or you don’t mind paying the price for fresh in the supermarket during the winter) use fresh Basil instead of dried.
Mom’s Tomato Sauce
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
5 – 28 ounce cans of Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomato with Basil (preferably)
1 – 6 ounce can of tomato paste ( I use Contadina but any will do, as long as there are no added spices)
4 beef bouillon packets( 4 grams per packet, preferably Herb Ox, Sodium Free, Instant Broth and Seasoning)
4 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of dried basil, or 2 large sprigs of fresh basil
7 cups of water
In a large (at least 8 quarts) saucepan over medium heat, simmer onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beef bouillon, salt, sugar and basil and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Add water and stir again thoroughly. Cover pan, turn up heat to about medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring every 5 minutes, putting cover back on after stirring. Make sure to stir the bottom very well. This will take approximately 20 minutes. Below is the beginning simmer.
Take cover off, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1-1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Make sure to stir the bottom very well, again. Burnt tomato sauce is ruined, I know this first hand. I have thrown out a whole batch because I was not diligent stirring or had the heat up too high. Below is the sauce complete. Notice how much it has reduced, by looking at the side of the pan. It doesn’t reduce a tremendous amount but enough to make it slightly thicker and allow the ingredients to blend together.
Allow the sauce to cool in the pan at room temperature, covered for about 1-2 hours. Do not put in the refrigerator while it’s still in the pan (yuk, 😦 have tried that too!)
Ladle sauce into freezable plastic containers. I use 2.9 cup containers (2.9, couldn’t they make it 3 for pete’s sake!!!) and one batch produces about 8 – 9 containers. Put containers in refrigerator for 24 hours and then freeze. Of course, you can use some sauce before you put it away!! Lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken cutlet with shredded mozzarella and sauce, yum, yum, yum!!!
Below, containers are all ready to be covered and put into the refrigerator:
I usually make 2 batches at once and then I have tomato sauce for quite awhile. But just try one for now, to see how you like it!
Happy Saucing from my kitchen to yours!