Monday, March 28, 2011

In The Freezer: Tomato Sauce

It wasn't until a month before the birth of my son that my freezer was stocked to the brim for the first time in my adult life.  It almost felt like some sort of grown up accomplishment, a milestone if you will.  My husband and I never really took advantage of freezer space and quickly discovered that once you have a child there is more to a freezer than the storage of ice cubes and occasional cartons of ice cream.

Soon I found bread, doughs, mac n cheese, casseroles, proteins, fresh berries, condiments, frozen pops and sauces stacked upon the freezer shelves.  One staple I always have on hand is tomato sauce.  Though not a meal in itself, it is a perfect springboard to make a quick and tasty meal.  From a simple tossing of sauce and noodles to a quick chicken parmesan this is one of my go-to recipes for a delicious family dinner.

Now the sauce.  I had been a big fan of Giada's marinara sauce...and then I had a kid...and then I didn't want to take the few extra minutes to chop onions, garlic, carrots, and a celery stalk.  Yes, I had become lazy and maybe a little boozy because I was craving a sauce that had a little extra bite from wine.  Luckily I found this recipe from an ancient MS Living magazine.  This sauce is sweet with a little heat from the pepper, has a good bite from the wine and added freshness from the fresh herbs.  Not to mention it is a dump, cook, serve, store, freeze kind of recipe...a winner for this mama!
Sneak Peak!!!  Look what's coming on Wednesday!
Traditional Italian Tomato Sauce
adapted from: Mark Strausman, owner and chef, Campagna
makes 9 cups

4-28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup Chianti or other dry red wine
1 tablespoon dried oregano
8 leaves fresh basil
Salt and Pepper
  1. In a medium stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, and saute until golden brown, 1-2 minutes.  Add red pepper flakes.  While oil is sizzling, slowly add half of the tomatoes.  Add wine, stirring to combine.  Add remaining tomatoes.
  2. Reduce heat.  Add the oregano, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened slightly, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Add the basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Store sauce in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 4 days.  Store in freezer for up to 1 month.

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