Making Tomato Basil Sauce
The ingredients below give the quantities of fresh basil to be added for the tomato sauce, however if dry basil is to be used, please reduce the quantity by half.
There is very little seasoning in the sauce, so depending on the other ingredients or which pizza you are going to make, the seasoning can be adjusted at that time.
Similarly, sliced olives or sliced sautéed mushrooms or zucchini can be added to the basic tomato sauce before mixing it into the pasta.
The taste and flavours of the sauce depend on the quality of the tomatoes and olive oil used, as well as the slow cooking of the sauce. When you use fresh ripe red juicy tomatoes and cook the sauce down as in the instructions, making sure you stir it frequently and watch it so it does not catch or brown, you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a tasty sauce. In fact, less is more in this case.
Once the tomato sauce is all ready, either freshly prepared or in the fridge, dinner takes just 15 minutes – cook the pasta, and meanwhile sauté simple sliced zucchini or mushroom, add the sauce and warm it up gently. Toss the pasta into the sauce and grate a little cheese on it – and there you are! Dinner fit for a queen, with very little effort and with all the goodness of a homemade sauce.
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Easy Tomato Basil Sauce for Pasta
- 5 cups Diced Tomato
- 2 tablespoons Fresh Basil leaves - minced
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Fresh ground pepper
- Wash the tomatoes and remove the 'eyes' or the round stem area. Dice the tomatoes into even sized pieces, about 2 cms square. Even sized small pieces will cook uniformly.
- Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, pat dry and mince the basil leaves. Grind the pepper.
To make Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
- Warm a pan and add the olive oil. As soon as the oil is hot, check that the stove is on low flame and add the garlic. Sauté for about 5 seconds, stirring so that the garlic does not brown.
- Add the basil and stir. Add the tomatoes, stir. Bring the stove heat to high for just 2 minutes, stirring the tomatoes and garlic well.
- Reduce the flame to low and allow the tomatoes to cook in their juices, stirring frequently and checking that the sauce does not catch at the bottom of the pan.
- In about an hour, the sauce will thicken and reduce to about half its original quantity. if you are making a lesser quantity, eg 2 cups of tomatoes to make 1 cup of sauce, the sauce would take lesser time, about 45 minutes. Remember to keep the sauce on low heat and to stir it frequently.
- Season with a pinch of salt and the pepper, stir and transfer to a cool bowl so that the sauce does not continue to cook.
- Use immediately or freeze after it cools completely, making sure you have not allowed any moisture to enter the sauce. Bring to room temperature and then warm it up again before using.
- Ripe red tomatoes and good quality olive oil will give the best results.
- If reducing the quantity of the sauce, eg 2 cups of tomatoes to produce 1 cup of sauce, then the cooking time would go down to about 45 minutes or less.
- You will know when the sauce is 'done' when the tomato pieces look mashed and not as separate pieces.
- The tomatoes may first be blanched for a few minutes in boiling hot water, strained and then the skin removed. I do not usually do this as the long slow cooking cooks the skin as well and does not leave a tough stringy skin.