Tomato season is fleeting, but the beauty of this sauce is you can make it all year round. Why should you make your own sauce when grocery store shelves are lined with jarred sauce options? Quite simply, when you make your own sauce, you are in control of what you’re eating. Jarred tomato sauce is convenient, but with this ease comes excessive sodium, corn syrup, and preservatives.
The extra time taken to prepare this sauce (and, really, it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish) is worth the peace of mind of knowing you are giving your body only the best ingredients. Triple the recipe and you can freeze this sauce for the next time your saucy cravings get the better of you!
Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 28–ounce can imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juice
8 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Chopped fresh oregano
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Whack (see Yoffie Wisdom) the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the oil. Cook, shaking the pan, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn!
- Raise the heat. Pour in the tomatoes and dried oregano, and season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil and adjust the heat to a lively simmer. Cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the fresh oregano and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle pasta (about 1 pound) with olive oil. Toss with sauce.
- Spicy Sauce. Add 8 dried red peppers with the dried oregano. After ten minutes of cooking, remove sauce from heat, and fish out the dried peppers.
- Tomato-Ricotta Sauce. Toss cooked pasta with sauce, and add 1 cup ricotta and ½ cup chopped fresh basil. Toss again.
- Puttanesca sauce. Add ½ cup pitted and roughly chopped olives, 4 tablespoons capers, drained, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes to simmering sauce.
It’s important to control the heat of the sauce while preparing, first bringing it to a full boil and then an active simmer. The sauce is boiling when you see big bubbles with a lot of activity/movement in the pot. An active simmer is just below a full boil; you’ll still see a good amount of activity/movement, but the bubbles are significantly smaller.
According to recent research, the antioxidant lycopene, found in tomatoes and in other yellow, red, and orange vegetables, may help those suffering from cardiovascular disease by widening and therefore enhancing the function of their blood vessels. In fact, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that an increased intake of lycopene reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. While further studies are needed, this potential benefit of adding more tomatoes and tomato sauce to any diet is encouraging.
When I say whack the garlic, I really mean whack it! Yes, some like to say “crush” the garlic but I think “whack” sounds better. Place the garlic clove on a dry cutting board and powerfully push the side of the knife on the clove until it flattens.