Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tasty Tomato Sauce

My Granny was an amazing cook. And I had the pleasure of spending lots of time in the kitchen with her. She taught me how to mix and match flavors and confidently toss ingredients in a pot, as if measuring tools didn't exist.

Today I'm making tomato sauce. She, like a lot of Italians, called it "gravy." I'm not making her recipe. It's more like a combo of both of ours. The savory scents from my kitchen are bringing back great memories, so I thought I'd share:

1. Finely chop a large onion, four garlic cloves and two carrots.

2. Heat olive oil in a big heavy bottomed pot on the stove on medium heat.

3. When the oil is hot, toss in the carrots and onion. Let them soften about five minutes. Make sure they don't brown.

NOTE: Some people put sugar in their "gravy." I don't. It's bad for you and those extra calories are a serious waste. Carrots do a great job of naturally sweetening the sauce and balancing the acidity of the tomatoes.

4. Add the garlic. Let it soften a few minutes. Be sure it doesn't brown. (It will taste awful.)

5. Salt and pepper your veggies. Then add dried Italian seasonings and some red pepper flakes.

6. Add four 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes. Or you can use whole tomatoes and smoosh them up with your hands.

7. Stir it up. Season to taste.

8. Simmer on low heat with the lid cracked for about an hour. Stir occasionally.

9. Pour over pasta.

10. Top with a chopped fresh herb like parsley or basil. (This gives it such a fresh zing!)




  1. Yes my family calls it gravy too. Mastaccoli (sp) gravy. I make it every major holiday and some other special occasions, I love to let it simmer for hours on end, the house smells so good!