This sauce is my signature, Jughandle’s Tomato Sauce. Also known as Red sauce in some circles. I have developed this recipe for 55 years. It was the first thing I learned to cook.
If you use good quality ingredients it will never fail you. Everyone’s tastes are different so add or subtract as you need to. A taste of tomato sauce should not surprise you. It is something to savor, and enjoy. It should enhance a pasta or dish and not taste flat.
At the bottom of the page I include a mean meat sauce variation. Enjoy – jughandle
Basic Tomato Sauce aka Red Sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion large white or yellow, finely diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon Thyme fresh chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped or pressed
- 2 teaspoons salt always to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper crushed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste very good quality or don't use any
- 56 ounce tomatoes 2 * 28 ounce cans of whole plum or roma, chopped with their liquid
- 12 ounce tomato sauce 1 - 12 ounce can
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce to taste
- 1 tsp Tabasco Sauce to taste. Not meant to be spicy, just to brighten the flavor. Lemon juice would also work
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- In a 3-4 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the minced onion and a large pinch of salt to sweat the onions. Saute for 5 minutes then add the garlic, and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. If the onions or garlic brown too fast turn the heat down. Do not burn the garlic or the sauce is ruined. Start over.
- When the onions and garlic are right. add the tomato paste and stir to combine for 30 seconds.
- Add the thyme and oregano, and cook 5 minutes more, until the spices are soft.
- Add the remaining tomatoes with their juices, the pepper and the bay leaves. Raise the temp to med-high and bring to a low boil, stirring often.
- Taste, then add the worcestershire sauce, Tabasco Sauce and vinegar, in that order, tasting between each addition. Adjust the salt and all seasonings. The sauce should have a tangy acidic taste to the tongue with a back flavor of tomato and spices. None of the individual seasonings should stand out.
- Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes up to 3 hours, until the sauce has an oatmeal consistency.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings once more.
This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Can be frozen flat in plastic freezer bags.
Meat sauce: To make a meat lovers meat sauce –
- prepare the basic tomato sauce recipe.
- While it is simmering
- Brown 1-2 lbs or more of ground meat. It could be beef, pork, turkey, sausage or any combination.
- Render out the fat and drain.
- Add to the tomato sauce and combine thoroughly.
- Continue to simmer to combine the flavors.