My Favourite Tomato Sauce | GRF, V
I found out I had celiac disease about 7 years ago and cried for a week. When I was a kid (maybe also as an adult, but lets go with kid because that sounds better) I used to think pasta was a breakfast food and I would make pasta for breakfast, often. (MOM?! why did you allow this to go on for so long?!!) So, getting the news that I had to remove gluten completely from my diet was tough blow. But I have managed to move on with my life and now find joy in delicious gluten free pasta. And breakfast pasta is still on the rotation. Friends, listen closely.. it’s all in the SAUCE. If you can master really bomb homemade pasta sauces, your pasta game (whatever noodle you use) is going to be super strong.
Today, it is time to master the most basic sauce of all time. Tomato sauce. The thing with tomato sauce is it can range from so very sad and average, to the best damn sauce you have ever had. So let’s learn how to make the latter.
What I use
- 800 ml of your favourite canned tomatoes (I recommend canned cherry tomato, aka Pomodorinis. They are a little sweeter. San Marzano’s are another great option)
- 400 ml water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 carrot, cut in half
- 1/2 white onion, peeled and halved so root stays intact
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 bunch of basil + some for garnish
- Parmesan rind, the bigger the better 🙂 (Tip: keep your rinds in the freezer; add them to sauces, stews, soups, etc. for big flavour points)
- Parmesan to garnish
- Pasta of your choice (Note: One of my favourite gluten free brands is Le Veneziane. It’s a corn pasta and I find the texture to be very similar to regular pasta. Using Zoodles would make this a Grain Free meal!)
- Optional: depending on my mood, I will add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick
Sauce after being blended
What I do
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a dutch oven or large saucepan on medium/low heat, add smashed garlic and let it saute till golden brown and soft.
- Add your carrot and onion and let those caramalize in the oil to develop flavour! Add the canned tomatoes, water, basil and Parmesan rind. Give it a good stir. Cover and let it simmer away on low for about 40 minutes. Make sure you are stirring it every so often because the Parmesan can stick to the bottom easily. To know its ready have a taste – it should taste smooth and sweet, not acidic. If you are looking for a sweeter sauce, add a spoonful of sugar. We haven’t added any salt yet so it will likely taste under seasoned. Don’t worry that’s coming..
- At this point you can get your water on for your pasta. Fill a big pot with water and generous handful of salt. Bring to a bowl.
- Once the sauce is at a place where you are happy with the base flavor, remove all the goodies – the carrot, onion, garlic, basil, and parm rind. If you are me, you will take that parm rind and eat off all the left over gooey cheese. Ugh cheese is good.
- The next step is optional depending on what tomatoes you used. If you used strained tomato sauce it will be good as is. But if you used the canned cherry tomatoes and want a silky smooth sauce, transfer sauce to blender or use immersion blender and blend till smooth. You do you here in terms of sauce consistency preference!
- Transfer back into your pot and season. Add a couple good pinches of salt, tasting in between to check. Add the butter and stir until melted and combined.
- At this point your sauce is done! I am usually just cooking for little old me, so I typically transfer majority the sauce into a Tupperware container and save for another day. I would say you need about 1/2 cup of sauce per portion of pasta. This recipe makes about 3 cups of sauce. You can do the math depending on how many peeps you are serving 🙂
- I recommend adding the pasta to the sauce when it is “pre al dante”. Reserve some of the pasta water and slowly add, spoonful at a time, while the pasta finishes cooking and the sauce continues to reduce and coat the noodles. You do not want to water down the sauce; just use the pasta water to help maintain a silky sauce that isn’t too thick. Taste, season again, add as much Parmesan as your heart desires.
- Note: if you are using zucchini noodles, or another vegetable noodle option, don’t worry about step 8. Just fold the noodles into the sauce and let it simmer till vegetable of choice is cooked.
I hope this sauce makes you never ever ever buy crappy store bought sauce again. Make it for breakfast and you will have the best day. I promise 🙂