Archive for May, 2011

Cooking for fun – Italian tomato sauce

by on Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Sometimes I really like to cook. Okay, most times I would really like to, I just get very busy and don’t take the time to. I definitely get my love of experimenting (and total lack of writing down ingredients and amounts) from my parents. Whether that is nature or nurture, who knows. All I know is it is fun to my tasty food, so I will try to recall what I actually did to make my two most recent meals (that I have pictures for too!).

The Sauce

So my first totally awesome experiment was some sorta of Italian dish. Any good Italian dish needs a delicious sauce. I scoured the interwebs for something that sounded like it would fit my needs. I wanted something tomatoey, and something that would not take too long to make. I found one that used some of my favorite herbs and called for the alcohol to cook with. I just couldn’t say no (linky)!


  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, crushed with flat of knife and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 to 1 cup diced, fresh basil. (It’s your call. We usually use close to a cup)
  • 1/2 cup red wine. (Good enough quality to drink)
  • 1 T turbinado (raw) sugar (or Splenda)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes.
  • 1 t lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 T brandy (optional)

* T is for tablespoon, t is for teaspoon

Looks good doesn’t it? While is calls for either diced or crushed tomatoes, I highly recommend crushed if you want it to be a sauce. Otherwise it kinda turns out as a Italian salsa, which was pretty cool. I like to lessen the basil a bit and add in some oregano and rosemary. I can’t really give you amounts as I’m dealing with all dried and crushed versions so I never actually have a cup of fresh basil.

Let’s get cooking

  • Sauté onions in olive oil over low heat, covered, for 10-12 minutes.
  • Add garlic and basil, re-cover, for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Uncover and add wine. Reduce by about half.
  • Add tomatoes , sugar, and S & P and simmer for 15 minutes. You can reduce the sauce further and intensify the flavor. We like to add the brandy and lemon juice about 3-4 minutes before finishing.
  • If you want to turn this sauce into Neapolitan Sauce, add 10-12 sliced ripe olives, and 1 1/2 T capers just before finishing.
  • Fresh Italian Parsley can be added at the end if you like it.