I admit, I “used” to buy spaghetti sauce in jars or cans. They’re cheap, super easy and so convenient, but if you want to try a homemade tomato sauce with an authentic Italian taste, look no further!
I looked through at least eight different recipes and tried a few before tweaking it here and there to come up with this one. My recipe is surprisingly easy; just a few ingredients and you don’t have to use fresh tomatoes.
I was a bit hesitant when making the sauce. Would it be too bland or watery? Nope. I tasted some as it was simmering and it was really delicious! When we sat down and I took my first bite (with meatballs and linguine), I was amazed! The sauce was so fresh and completely different than store-bought sauces. We liked it so much that we make the sauce regularly in large batches and freeze it.
San Marzano tomatoes are the key ingredient. Please do not use any other brand. I found them at Costco, and they come in cans. Yes, you heard right, cans, but these tomatoes are bursting with flavor. I’ve read reports that they’re not real authentic San Marzano tomatoes, but they taste great to me, and the price is amazing.
Fresh basil is also a must. I never cooked much with basil and to be honest, I wasn’t a fan, but now I’m addicted.
Next up, fresh parmesan cheese and I do mean fresh. Not the kind in a plastic jar which has cellulose (yuck), but fresh wedges. We buy large blocks of parmesan cheese, cut them into chunks that will fit through our food processor, and then we freeze it for several months.
You must try this recipe!
Homemade Tomato Sauce
Makes approximately 5 – 6 cups
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 – 28 ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Chili flakes (optional)
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large high sided sauté pan
- Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, do not let the garlic burn
- Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes and then gently crush the tomatoes with a potato masher until slightly smooth (be careful the tomatoes don’t squirt you)
- Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper, taste for seasoning
- Add the chili flakes (optional) and continue cooking on low to medium low heat, until sauce thickens, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
My Favorite Meatball Recipe
Everyone has their own version. I pretty much throw in what I have on hand (lol). For moist and flavorful meatballs, do not overmix them. If you use lean ground beef, make sure you add a small amount of filler (bread crumbs or oatmeal) an egg, and a small amount of milk. The amounts will also differ according to how much meat you use.
The meatballs freeze quite well.
- ½ lb each: medium ground beef, lean ground pork and lean ground veal (or your preferred choice of meats)
- ½ -1 onion, finely minced
- 1 small carrot, finely minced
- ½ green pepper, finely minced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- Large flake oats (handful)
- 1 egg
- Few tablespoons milk
- Kosher salt
- Garlic powder
- Italian seasoning (go lightly on this herb, it can be very strong and overwhelming), or basil
- Worcestershire sauce (few dashes)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Combine all ingredients, do not overmix, and shape into the size you like!
- Place on lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes (longer if you made larger meatballs)
- Serve over your choice of pasta with tomato sauce and garnish with fresh basil leaves and Parmesan cheese (we love Parmigiano Reggiano)!