intensely trivial

The best tomato sauce

Tonight we had polenta with tomato sauce. Polenta is really quite easy to make, and a nice variation on the other starchy basics. But that’s not what I was going to write about! I was going to share with you a very easy recipe for tomato sauce. Once you’ve had this, it’s hard to go back to the jarred stuff from the store. It’s also cheaper than the store stuff. And you must believe me: It’s easy and non-demanding.

The recipe is from one of those glossy cookbooks you find on the bargain shelves at Barnes & Noble, called Cook’s Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking. It’s the tomato sauce listed for the best eggplant parmesan (in my opinion), but I use it for lots of other things. Here goes:

Basic Tomato Sauce

4 T. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lb. diced tomatoes, fresh or canned (normally I use 2 14-oz. cans, but tonight I used some of the last fresh tomatoes from my garden)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a few leaves fresh basil or sprigs parsley (I used dried parsley tonight because my basil froze to death)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, and cook over medium heat until it’s translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the basil or parsley. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree in a blender, or leave chunky. (Personally, I love mine pureed, and Dan has this nifty immersion blender that makes it a breeze.) Add extra salt or pepper to taste.

You can serve this with polenta, obviously, or over pasta, or in eggplant parmesan, or just eat it plain.

If you try it, let me know how you like it!


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