Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

Have you ever just craved homemade spaghetti sauce, but didn’t want to go all out cooking something complicated?

Well, I made some tonight in twenty minutes.

It’s so easy.

I started making this when I was an unpaid intern living in Boston. It was my first time on my own and I cooked for myself most nights. We rarely had jarred tomato or spaghetti sauce when I was a kid, so instead I ventured out and made my own. This is a great recipe if you’re new to cooking. Seriously, so easy.

So first, gather your ingredients.

Yep.  That’s it. You need a can of tomato sauce, a can of tomato paste, minced onion, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and sugar.

Now, I grew up in a family where we pulled 400 bulbs of garlic out of our garden every summer, so using the dried garlic isn’t my preference, I really like having it fresh, the flavor is much more intense. However on the flip side, I have always hated onion, so the minced onion erases my hated of the texture. It’s all about preference, and sometimes, shelf life. Fresh goes bad, the dried stuff lasts longer.

Ok, so once you have your ingredients together, get out a saucepan and put it on medium. I tried something new and put the onion and garlic in the pan with some Pam spray.

I let it cook until I can hear it sizzling and I can smell the herbs. I didn’t put enough in the pan and ended up adding more later, but I think releasing the flavors made a more aromatic sauce.

After your garlic and onion smells amazing, add the tomato sauce and paste to the pan.

Tomato paste is kind of a weird texture, but it thickens the sauce. I didn’t use it the first few times and the sauce stays pretty watery. The paste thickens it up and makes it that familiar spaghetti sauce texture. Let the mixture heat and stir it until it’s a smooth consistency.

Next, add sugar. When I first found out that you put sugar into tomato sauce I was weirded out. It didn’t seem right. But the sugar counteracts the acidity of the tomato. I like my sauce sweet, so I use a good amount of sugar.

I love sweet sauce. I used more sugar than this. And this, the seasoning, is where I need to dispel one of the biggest myths of cooking. Don’t taste it while you’re cooking because it’s not done so it won’t taste right. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. TASTE IT. TASTE IT CONSTANTLY.

Think about the ingredient you’re adding. In this case, it’s sugar. So I sprinkle it on to cover the top of the sauce, stir it in, and then I taste it. It wasn’t sweet enough so I added more. Start with a little bit and add more and more until it tastes the way you want it to.

Now the same with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add a little, stir it, and taste. I go light on the salt and pepper and add enough Italian seasoning so it’s a solid influence on the taste. I like using Italian Seasoning because it’s a blend of the major spices and you can use one instead of having to find a bottle of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil. Let me tell you, in my rural area, there’s no Savory. I’ve looked. Do the same method that I suggested with the sugar. Add a little, then taste. Do this until it tastes the way you want it. This is where I added more onion and garlic since I didn’t get enough at the beginning.

Heat the sauce through, taste it to make sure it’s how you want it, and you’re done.

Seriously. Already.

Yummy. We had our sauce on spaghetti with some frozen meatballs I baked in the oven while I made my sauce and the noodles boiled. Next to it is a bagged salad with Kings Hawaiian Croutons (which are amazing by the way).

This recipe makes a lot of sauce, I put most of it in a plastic container in my fridge to use for other recipes. Heck, sometimes we’ll dip pizza into it like marinara.