When it comes to Italian pasta sauces, this easy to make tomato sauce is a winner every time when it comes to battle of getting kids to eat.
It’s not something I got from a book, but something I was taught. I love it because you don’t have to let the sauce sit all day to get the flavour. By slowly cooking the herbs and spices with the oil first before adding the tomatoes, you infuse the sauce with flavour, making it a quick and easy meal.
Tomatoes (fresh or canned – 1 or two cans, adjust spices to amount you need; with fresh anywhere from 6 – 10 depending on how much sauce you want.)
Basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaves – season to taste (I like to sprinkle, let cook for a while, then sprinkle more until I get the right smell – my mom used to tell me when you really smell it right it’s ready to eat, and I read in a Hari Krishna cookbook that you should never tasting the food before it’s done so I try to follow this when I can.)
Salt – you’ll need more for fresh than canned; I always like to add two big pinches to the oil / herb mixture, then add more according to taste once tomatoes have been added)
Garlic – 2 – 4 cloves, depending on taste, finely chopped / minced
Optional: celery, mushroom, carrot
(using low heat) In a large deep dish pan or a sauce pot add olive oil and bay leaves – let sit stirring gently for a minute. Add other spices, stirring for one or two minutes then add onions. Cook until translucent, add garlic, cook for a couple of minutes until you can really smell the garlic, then add cut up tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, on medium heat until the sauces thickens up a bit. Mash or blend. Serve.
I don’t bother removing the skins of fresh tomatoes (when I use them) because they blend fine when you mash it all together. This recipe is also a great opportunity to get more nutrients into your kids since you can throw in other veggies (even dark leafy greens), then use an emulsion blender (hand held blender) at the end to smoosh it all together in a sauce that hides them all, for your picky eater. Even works with the know-it-all teen in the house.
No matter how picky the kid, I haven’t found one who hasn’t eaten this sauce. And it makes play dates at Nikki’s a lot more enjoyable when everyone eats fast. Plus, the fact it’s super quick and easy to make means busy weekdays on the run I can turn to this for a healthy meal when I haven’t planned anything … which is usually always.
If you try it, let me know what you think.