Of course, you could buy a tomato sauce in a jar from the shops – alongside supermarket own, many chefs have now begun to produce their own sauces. Whilst this option does save time because it is ready-made, it is much more expensive! Moreover, the time required to produce a batch homemade tomato sauce isn’t time that needs a great deal of accompanying attention – the hour or so simmering process doesn’t have to be an hour lost! It can be an hour’s reading, working etc. And once the batch is made, it can be refrigerated (for up to a week) or frozen, meaning that your very own sauce has just become as easy and time-saving as shop bought – and twice as cheap!
- 2 tins of peeled plum tomatoes – value/basics/essentials ranges are good here!
- A small red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Balsamic or red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Dried herbs – either basil, thyme or oregano
- Salt and pepper to season
- Finely slice the onion and garlic cloves, and fry over a medium heat in a generous amount of olive oil until they begin to soften.
- As the garlic and onion soften, add the tinned tomatoes and stir. Add a lid to the pan, and reduce to a low simmer. Simmer the sauce for around an hour, until it has reduced in volume and thickened in consistency.
- Stir the sauce again, this time gently pushing the plum tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon against the sides of the saucepan to break their shape. Then, add either half a tablespoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar. Add a sprinkling of your chosen dried herb, and season. Continue to cook gently for a further half an hour, to allow the flavours to infuse.
- The tomato sauce is now ready to use – some recipes advocate either blending it for a smoother consistency, or pushing it through a sieve to remove any ‘bits’ of onion/garlic/tomato, whilst retaining their flavours. It is up to you!