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Basic Tomato Sauce

This sauce freezes well, and I usually have some in my freezer in case I decide to make a quick pasta dish.

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped red onions
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup sweet wine, such as Mavrodaphne or sweet Marsala
1/2-1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/2 cups grated ripe tomatoes (about 11/2 pounds) or one 16-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice
1 cinnamon stick
salt
sugar

Procedure:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onions over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until glossy.
  • Add the wine and pepper and simmer for 1 minute.
  • Add the grated tomatoes, cinnamon stick, salt and about 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.
  • The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

 

 

Tips

Variations: Add 1-2 springs rosemary, thyme or oregano. To sweeten the sauce, instead of sugar, add ½ cup sultanas or 1 finely grated carrot. Just before serving, add a handful basil leaves, torn with the fingers, to the sauce. To add depth, sauté 2-3 slices of bacon or ½ cup chopped spicy sausage, together with the onions.
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