I don’t have any Italian ancestry as far as I know, but I do love a good bowl of pasta with savory sauce. Our family enjoys making homemade pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, chicken parmesan… anything we can put with a red tomato sauce! I used to buy cans of ready-made sauce from the store (and sometimes still do) but realized that the sugar and sodium contents were very high. Now I try to make it myself as much as possible. Here’s how I do it:
- 105 oz. can of Hunt’s tomato sauce, available at Walmart
Make sure that there is no sugar added.
- 8 oz. can of tomato paste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Minced garlic
- Sweetener of your choice (I used xylitol, a natural sweetener – use caution if you have dogs, as this can be dangerous for them)
- Herbs of your choice (I used oregano, basil, and chives)
- Salt and pepper
First, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add about 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic and your herbs. I used herbs that I had in the freezer. I blended fresh herbs with oil and froze them in little bags so I would have them ready to go for recipes like this! I added about 1 Tablespoon of basil, 1/2 Tablespoon of oregano, and 1/2 Tablespoon of chives. Let the garlic and herbs simmer in the oil for a minute or two.
Add the can of tomato sauce (be careful of splatters!) and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Next you will be seasoning the sauce to your taste. I start with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 cup of xylitol. The salt and pepper help bring out the flavors of garlic and herbs, and the sweetener is needed to mellow the acidity of the tomato sauce. Start small and add more until you are happy with the flavor! I let the sauce simmer for at least an hour on low heat, just to let all of the flavors combine.
Let the sauce cool before storing. I like to put mine in freezer Ziploc bags and store flat in the freezer. That way I have them ready to thaw whenever I need them! I separate one batch of sauce into three or four bags.
* Note: The recipe makes a little more than what is pictured here, as I had already added some to ground beef for a meat sauce.
Now you have a yummy marinara sauce to use for your favorite pasta dish! We like to make linguine with a meat sauce and add parmesan cheese on top. Or we will use a little sauce on our grilled pizza. I love having a few bags in the freezer ready to go for a quick meal!