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Tomato Sauce, Homemade Italian (P, KLP, TNT)
Source: Aunt Aletha and Dear Old Dave (DOD)
Yield: About 4 cups

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed with flat of knife and sliced thinly
1/2 to 1 cup fresh basil, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon turbinado (raw) sugar or sucralose-type sweetener (not for Pesach)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
3 tablespoons brandy (optional)

If you have good fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water until the skins are loose and wrinkled. Cool in cold water and remove skins before dicing. If you squeeze through strainer with mesh small enough to catch the seeds, the removal of the seeds will make the sauce a little less bitter.

Sauté onions in olive oil over low heat, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic and basil, re-cover, for another 5 minutes or so. Uncover and add wine. Reduce by about half.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, 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 to 4 minutes before finishing.

Poster's Notes:
For the basil, it's your call how much to use. We usually use close to a cup.

If you want to turn this sauce into Neapolitan sauce, add 10 to 12 sliced ripe olives, and 1-1/2 tablespoons capers just before finishing.

Fresh Italian parsley can be added at the end if you like it.

For a nice twist, add 3 to 5 crushed and chopped anchovies. You talk about kicking something up a notch! Especially good in fish stew (Cioppino). Yum!!!

Write it down and star it, pupils: This tangy tomato sauce can be used virtually anytime when you would like a juiced-up alternative to a can of tomatoes called for in a recipe. It's worth the effort!

You can double this easily, but adding 3 to 5 more cloves of garlic is not necessary unless you are a garlic hound like us. (If you can believe it, we've actually heard there are some people who do not like garlic! Hard to believe, but I guess it's true. Pity for them!) Obviously, these people are "not" Italian, even at heart!

So, make a large batch of sauce and use what you need for the recipe you are preparing, then freeze the rest in batches for future recipes. You can thaw it out in the microwave or in warm water in no time. Restaurant chefs do it all the time, DOD can vouch for that. Why not you?

There is no substitute for homemade Italian tomato sauce. Believe DOD on this one (after all, he has run a few really popular restaurants): any professional Italian chef worth his salt will never use canned tomato sauce when he/she has the time and ingredients to make a fresh homemade one. Now, these "artistes" might use canned tomatoes for the base. That's acceptable, especially considering the fact tomatoes canned at their peak of flavorful perfection are far superior to fresh ones that have been engineered to be shipped by bouncy carriers without even mildly bruising!

But it's the other ingredients that make homemade tomato sauce so awesome. You can add capers and sliced ripe olives. You can add intensely flavored herbs like rosemary, Italian parsley, basil, Yum!

You can even add brandy (DOD does it all the time), but red wine is pretty good in this tomato sauce. Give it a final boost with a teaspoon or 2 of fresh lemon juice and 3 to 4 tablespoons brandy. Maybe some black olives and capers. Sheesh! I could go on forever, I guess.

Posted by Sally Benay

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A