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04.20.2006

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Quick Fix | Basic Tomato Sauce 
If you're only going to learn to make one pasta sauce, make it this one. Simple additions of vegetables, meats, or other spices, lead to an infinite variety of more complex sauces. Or, serve it straight with linguini/spaghetti: just set a pot of water to boil for the pasta just before starting on this sauce, and you'll have dinner ready and on the table in 30 minutes tops. I like to make big vats of it at a time, then freeze small portions for future use. 

ingredients
2 cans [14.5 oz each] diced, peeled tomatoes OR about 14 fresh roma tomatoes*
2 cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, minimum
2 tbsp olive oil
salt + pepper to taste
time 20-30 min
serves 4-5 (makes enough sauce for a pound+ of pasta)

* If using fresh tomatoes: Boil 4" water in a pot. Slice an x, just breaking the skin, at the bottom of each tomato. Drop tomatoes in water for 20 sec, promptly remove from pot and rinse in cold water. The skins should now peel off easily. Slice in half, core, remove seeds, and chop roughly.
1. Crush, peel and chop 2 cloves of garlic. Peel and finely chop 1 small yellow onion.
2. Pour 2 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet; heat on low-medium for 1 minute.
3. Add garlic and stir, taking care to avoid burning the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften and turn translucent.
4. Add onions and stir, cooking until onions begin to soften and turn translucent, approx. 4-5 minutes.
5. Add both cans of tomatoes [lightly drained] or 14 fresh peeled, de-seeded, + chopped roma tomatoes. Increase heat to high-medium.
6. Gently tear the basil leaves into small bits and add to the pan.  Add salt and pepper [start off with ~1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper].
7. Cook, stirring every so often, until the tomatoes begin to break down + lose their raw flavor, approx. 10 minutes.
8. Add more salt + pepper to taste. Serve.

VARIATIONS:
a. Spicy Tomato Sauce Add 1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper in step 6.
b. Fancy Tomato Sauce Add 1/4 cup of dry red wine just after the onions have softened in step 4. Let wine bubble away, ~3-4 minutes. Proceed with step 5.
c. Smooth Tomato Sauce Puree the finished sauce in a blender.

o

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