A couple of years ago I had several cans of tomatoes that we were no longer able to give out at our food pantry due to the expiration date. I still felt comfortable using them for my family, so I brought them home and looked for a way to use them. When I found this recipe, I figured that I could trust Mario Batali for a decent tomato sauce. It was wonderful!
Today I plan to make the sauce again, using reduced-sodium canned tomatoes. My plan is to use this sauce with meatballs for Meatball Hoagies, and for a Eggplant Parmesan casserole, inspired by a dish I had in the hospital cafeteria last week.
BASIC TOMATO SAUCE
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
When ready to use, the cooked pasta should be added to a saucepan with the appropriate amount of sauce. Yields 4 cups.