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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Simple Tomato Sauce

I got this formula that inspired this from the fabulous guide to Dinner on the Table, How to Cook without a Book. It saved me when I went through a period of jonesing for Genova Deli's extremely delicious but rather pricey tomato with dried funghi sauce. It really does get a good tasting red sauce ready in about the time it takes to boil the water and cook the dried pasta.

A key to this is keeping excellent quality crushed tomatoes in the pantry. Muir Glen and Progresso are the best brands according to the author. I am a Muir Glen gal all the way - they are excellent canned tomatoes. If you can't find crushed, but have a 28 oz can of tomatoes in juice, crush them in your fingers as you add them to the pan or use a potato masher.

The basic formula - garlic as aromatic warmed up in olive oil, then simmer the tomatoes with salt, pepper, and some herbs - is even speedier than what I did, as I used an onion and they take longer to saute.

So here was my tomato sauce with mushrooms:


2-3 TBS olive oil

1 large onion, diced, (about 7 minutes)

About 1/2 lb mushrooms (I had the shiitake which I bought on special at the Bowl), cleaned and diced - saute for about 3 minutes more


1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
Salt, pepper, oregano

Simmer until thickened, stirring frequently.

I remembered I should start the pasta at this point. I should have started the water when I had the onions in. I let it simmer until the noodles were done.

Memorize Pam's formula (occasionally varying the aromatics and add-ins) and you won't have to reach for bottled sauce again:

Heat fat and garlic, then cook it for two.
Add canned tomatoes and simmer for a few.

This is a great book if you are somewhat overwhelmed by the idea of recipes on weeknights; it concentrates on easy to remember formulas for simple family suppers (stir fry, roast chicken, seared meat, simple soups, pasta dishes).

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