Monday, March 12, 2012

Easy Italian Tomato Sauce

Whenever I find a can of San Marzano tomatoes in one of my local grocers I get all excited.  Then I look at the price (a whopping $6 a can) and quickly put it back and start hunting for other options.

I found these two sauces worked beautifully together in place of my beloved San Marzano tomatoes.  I used a can of La Valle that I picked up at World Market and a can of Trader Joe's Marinara, both costing only about $2 a can.  I'm not saying to travel to two different stores to get tomatoes (its just what I had) a can of Trader Joe's whole tomatoes would work fine.
When an Italian recipe calls for tomato sauce, they don't mean that short stubby 8 oz. can on your grocers shelf.  What they really want you to use is a homemade version of tomato sauce.  This is my basic base recipe for Italian style tomato sauce.

It is a quick and easy recipe that freezes well.  Once you have the tomato sauce made all you need is just a little bit of imagination.  I use it to make meat sauce as well as to turn a piece of chicken or plate of pasta or a slice of bread into a delicious meal. 

I chose to make a meatless sauce (not a meatless meal, just meatless sauce) so that the clean tomato flavor could stand on its own, and it did, sweet, fresh clean, Delizioso!

Which meant that I needed to cook my sausages separately in a 350 degree oven for about 30 min. or until they were cooked through and their skin was crisp to the bite (flip sausage halfway through the cooking for even browning).  This worked out well because while the sauce was simmering the sausages were doing their thing in the oven.
Spaghetti Al Pomodoro with Italian Sausage
Note* After cooking the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to use to thin the sauce if needed.

2              cloves                   garlic, minced
1              small                     onion, chopped
½             med                      carrot, grated (or ½ tsp. sugar)
2              Tbsp.                    tomato paste
1              28 oz. can             Italian whole peeled tomatoes
1              28 oz. can             Italian crushed tomatoes
1              cup                       water
1              tsp.                       dried basil
1              tsp.                       dried oregano
½             tsp.                       kosher salt
¼             tsp.                       black pepper
¼             tsp.                       crushed pepper (more if you like it spicy)

Place heavy bottom pot over med-high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the pot and garlic, onions and carrots.  Stir to mix and lower heat; cook covered for about 5 minutes or until the onions are very soft.  Clear a spot in the middle of the pot and add tomato paste and let cook for about a minute.  Stir to mix; add the tomatoes (crush the whole ones with your hands), water, basil, oregano, salt and peppers.  Stir to mix and let simmer covered for 30 minutes.  

Toss pasta with the sauce and top with Parmesan cheese.


  1. Eating is really one of my hobby i mean part of my life. I love going to a place and at the same time taste their delicious and most wanted food.I want to taste something that is new to my palate.

    1. Hi Joy, I love eating too. I hope this sauce brings the newness that you desire.