Homemade pasta sauce recipe.

barb_roselover_inMay 10, 2012

Does anybody have a recipe for a good homemade pasta sauce recipe which doesn't have a million ingredients? I'm by myself now and these things are in such big jars at the store that I thought of makine my own and freezing them in small containers. I love basil and Italian seasonings so that is a starter. Can you help me? Lots of advance thanks. Barb

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This tomato sauce from Smitten Kitchen changed the way I view it completely. I'd always added a lot of seasonings to the sauces I'd made before with tomato paste and canned sauce, but she is so right- the fresh tomatoes, once simmered down, don't need much help. She does add garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes, but it is amazing.

Here is a link that might be useful: recipe

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 8:50PM
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Meat sauce? I start with about 2 lbs of good ground beef, browned. Separately saute until soft/translucent: 2 ribs celery, one good sized yellow onion, one green bell pepper, all chopped. Towards the end, add 4 or 5 or 6 smashed /chopped cloves garlic, don't overcook the garlic. In large pot, add meat, veggies, one gigantic Costco-sized can tomato puree (6++ pounds, what size can is that?), a couple of cans of Muir Glen (or your choice) diced tomatoes, then a bunch of the herbs. Basil, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper. Simmer for most of the day.

I freeze it in freezer-strength baggies, a bit more than one cup for the two of us. The baggies I aly out flat on a pan to freeze, and they won't take up too much space.

Wish I could say how much of the herbs, but I usually taste and add more. Don't be afraid to add and taste, add and taste. If your sauce is getting too thick, add some water and continue to simmer.

Guess what I need to do this weekend... make some sauce!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:29PM
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I've made this recipe twice now, for the second time just this past weekend. I got about 6-7 one cup containers from the recipe. The only change I make is to leave out the second can of tomato paste.

Here is a link that might be useful: World's Best Pasta Sauce

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:42PM
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You need really ripe good tomatoes or it's not worth it - if they're not good, used tinned tomatoes.
Skin the toms and chop. Chop an onion and gently fry, add crushed garlic, fry another minute, add toms and some oregano or basil... whatever you like, salt and pepper and simmer. Add a little water if it's too dry. Let it cook for at least half an hour to get the right texture.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 2:37AM
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Here's something you might want to consider Barb. I too lived alone for many years, and was always having the bigger jars of spaghetti sauce mold in my fridge, or dealing with huge amounts of leftovers from a typical spaghetti meal. Then I got a Roma food mill and started making my own sauce during tomato season from fresh tomatoes. I have a tiny kitchen and space is limited but I love that gadget!! I can tomato sauce up in pints, which is just the amount I need. You can find recipes that vary from basic to all spiced up. One of my favorites to have on hand is italian style tomato sauce, which has the celery and onion in it in advance, which is a great base for almost any type of tomato sauce, since you don't add spices, so it can go any way--italian, indian, mexican, moroccan . . . That's how I do spaghetti now, I start with a can of either stewed tomatoes, or "italian style" chopped tomatoes (these both have celery, onion and pepper in them ahead of time, but the stewed you have to chop up before going ahead with the sauce.) Then I thicken with tomato paste and add herbs to my taste. You can also add whatever kind of meat you want to this.

My other favorite is tomato basil sauce, made with fresh basil. That's my go-to for Italian. My recipe comes from "Small Batch Preserving" by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. You could just as well freeze the sauce as can it! Then add butter, and fresh herbs before serving--or the herb infused oil. But you can also make and freeze herb butters and pastes, which are great to pop into a sauce. I make them in the food processor, put them in ice cube trays, and then when they are frozen, put the cubes in little containers in the freezer so I can pull out a cube or two when I want to kick something up a notch. You can also freeze in oil, making something like cubes of pesto, sans the cheese.

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce
Note: this only makes about 6 cups of sauce (3 pints). So it's a very small recipe so double if you want more to freeze or can.

8 cups chopped peeled tomatoes
(about 9-12 tomatoes or 4lbs)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 TBLSP chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. pickling salt
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste.

Combine all ingredients togehter in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and then simmer, uncovered for 40 min. or until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. (Note: I take out some of the seeds when I chop the tomatoes but I don't get overly fastidious about it. The gell around the seeds adds a good flavor and consistency.)

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Process 35 min. for pints.

Note: if you freeze this sauce you don't have to worry about adding the wine or wine vinegar, either leave it out or add it to taste, but you can't leave it out if you are canning it.

If I was freezing it, I would slowly saute the onion in olive oil before adding the rest of the ingredients, and briefly saute the garlic. But don't do that if you are canning it. Oil is a no-no for canning, it changes the acidity of the recipe, among other issues.

If you don't have fresh tomatoes, you can use canned ones, but kind of defeats the purpose of this recipe. And the sauce is only as good as the tomatoes and basil.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:28AM
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If I am making a meat sauce, I start with some pork...like a chop or a small pork steak brown it in a little olive oil a Dutch oven, as its browning I chop a good big onion, or 2 smaller ones and a green pepper,
Add the veggies to the pot along with
3 to 5 cloves of garlic, depending on how big the cloves are. When the onion has softened, add:
3 24 oz cans of good whole Italian plum tomatoes and
3 6 oz cans of Contadina tomato paste ( other brands are bitter!)
Fill one of the tomato paste cans with a dry red wine and add to the pot, and fill the other 2 cans with water and add that to the pot. Add:
A handful of fresh basil....about 1/4 cup chopped, and
A handful of flat leaf parsley about 1/4 cup chopped, and
2 T fresh oregano leaves....and
Fresh ground pepper, about 3/4 of a teaspoon....about 6 grinds of my Greek mill. And" 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. For this it really isn't necessary to use the "good stuff" because what you want from the cheese is the buffering the acidity of the tomatoes. Add the good stuff to each plate as you serve it.

while the sauce is simmering...VERY slowly... make meatballs to put into it....I bake the meatballs and add them to the sauce pot, and simmer another hour.

I also make a simple pomo d'oro sauce using fresh tomatoes.
I sautee a big onion and half a green pepper in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and about 2 quarts of peeled and cut up fresh tomatoes, a small handful of fresh basil and another of chopped parsley.....cook at a fairly fast boil until thick enough for you about 20 minutes. I use a big fry pan for this....salt to taste....it will take a fair amount as you have not used any canned products nor cheese.
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 11:08AM
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This has become our favorite homemade sauce recipe


When using fresh tomatoes, pulse them in a blender but
leave some small pieces of tomatoes and add one small can of tomato paste.
(note: I've never used fresh tomatoes)


1 Large (29 ounce) can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 Large 29 ounce can of tomato puree
1 small can of tomato paste
65 ounces of fresh Tomatoes (pulsed in the blender )
1 small can of Tomato Paste

Put all the Tomatoes in a pot large enough to hold the meat too.
Start to simmer while adding the other ingredients.

2 teaspoons of garlic powder (add more later to taste) OR
about 4 fresh garlic cloves, chopped small and sauteed until transparent

1/2 of an onion , diced, or 2 teaspoons onion powder
3 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon of salt ( or to taste )
3 teaspoons of Sugar ( add more later if Sauce is too Acidic )
An Italian pinch of powdered Cloves or 3 Whole Cloves
3/4 teaspoon of Oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon of Parsley
1/2 teaspoon of Basil
1/4 teaspoon of Black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon of Chicken flavored Soup Base
Add a Large handful of Parmesan or Romano cheese, when Sauce is done.

For Meat. I add a Chicken Thigh, Meat balls and Sausage.
Simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Take the Chicken out when it is tender..

For a Meat Sauce, saute some sausage and ground meat
and add after an hour.
Or meatballs cut up into small pieces.

This recipe males quite a lot,
I divide it into meal size portions and freeze.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Thanks for the recipes. Having stove problems right now. Think it is the computer stuff and feel that I'm going to have to get another. Can still cook on the stovetop though. It has tc do with the oven. Anyway, when it comes to simmering for a long time, I'm afraid that I get side-tracked and have been known to burn stuff. Do you suppose I could do this in my slow cooker? They sound delicious, but unfortunately our tomatoes aren't ready yet. Thanks so much. Barb

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:47PM
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Yes, put in in the slow cooker for a few hours! Just do the initial sauteing on the stove top. My recipe is a bit too large for my crock pot, but can be reduced proportionally.

Or, have you tried a flame tamer on your burners (if gas). To get a really low simmer?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 12:25AM
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I agree with Sushipup, the slow cooker works great.
But be sure to do the initial sauteing on the stove top.

There is one kind of 'store-bought' sauce
That I really like.
It is Marinara with Burgundy wine,
(made by Bertolli, I think)
But one jar is too big for the 2 of us.
Good for at least 2 and sometimes 3 meals.
So when I use it,
I put half if it into a freezer zip lock bag,
And freeze for use another time.
Works great when I am too lazy to make my own sauce,
Or just want to try something different.

Just another option,
And eliminates wasting a lot of sauce.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 1:21AM
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The thing about simmering on the stove top is that it reduces the sauce by evaporation....which doesn't happen in a slow cooker.
I also recommend a flame tamer for your burner....and a cast iron pot.
Your home made sauce made with fresh onion ,garlic and herbs will not be anything like a jar of stuff from the store.....worth setting a timer to remind you to stir the sauce every 20 minutes or so.
Linda c

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 1:51AM
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You can make a really good sauce with tinned tomatoes if yours aren't ready - after all the Italians do!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 3:01AM
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I agree with Islay!

Another good marinara sauce is by Anne Burrell (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef). I wish we could get San Marzano tomatoes here. We don't have any fancy, flavoured canned tomatoes.

Marinara Sauce

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound diced pancetta
2 large Spanish onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Kosher salt
4 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
4 (28-ounce) cans Italian plum San Marzano tomatoes

Coat a large saucepot with olive oil and add the pancetta. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat and cook the pancetta for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, season generously with salt and stir to coat with olive oil.

Cook the onions for 6 to 7 minutes stirring frequently. The onions should become very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes stirring frequently.

Pass the tomatoes through the food mill. Be sure to pass all of the pulp through the holes leaving only the stems and the seeds, and be sure to scrape the pulp off of the bottom of the food mill. That's all of the big money stuff! Add the tomatoes to the pot and rinse out 1 of the empty tomato cans with water and add that water to the pot (about 2 to 3 cups). Season generously with salt and TASTE IT!!!! Tomatoes take a lot of salt. Season in baby steps and taste every step of the way. Cook the sauce for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally and tasting frequently.

Use the sauce right away on pasta or for any other tomato sauce need. This sauce can also be cooled and stored in the refrigerator for a few days and freezes really well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Anne Burrell Marinara Sauce

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 10:12AM
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This is my go to sauce recipe. You can change it up with any additions you like, meat, mushrooms, wine etc. It freezes well and it uses canned tomatoes. Super easy!

Basic Marinara
Source: Cooking Light October 2007

3T olive oil
3 c chopped onion
1T sugar
3T minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried basil
1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
2T balsamic vinegar
2 c chicken broth
3 28oz cans crushed tomatoes

Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, cook 4 minutes stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fennel), cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar, cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat 50-60 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Yield: about 12 cups sauce


    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 1:46PM
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You can reduce your sauce in a slow cooker by simply cracking the lid a bit.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 8:53PM
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