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Basic Basil Tomato Sauce

Basic Basil Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot or 10 baby carrots, diced
One 14-ounce can of tomato sauce
One 28-ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1-2 teaspoons dried Italian Seasoning
1-2 cups water
Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, or additional fresh herbs, chopped

Cooking Instructions

In an 8-quart stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium heat. Cook the onions on low heat until translucent, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the garlic, celery, carrots and any other vegetables, and cook for 15 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato sauce, crushed or diced tomatoes, bay leaf, half the fresh herbs, the spices, and water and bring it to a boil.

Turn the heat down to low, and simmer for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. You may need to add water since the sauce thickens while it cooks. Stir frequently, especially if you don't have a heavy-bottomed pan. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat and take out the bay leaf. Add the rest of the fresh herbs and stir well.

To create a smooth texture, purée the sauce with a hand-held immersion blender (or in a regular blender once it's cooled down). This sauce can be used for pizza, calzones, pasta, lasagna, manicotti, or eggplant Parmesan. You can store it for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Cooking tips:
- You don't need every single vegetable or herb in order to prepare this recipe, but the onions are a must. Try making Caramelized Onions to create a richer tasting sauce.
-This recipe yields more than you'll need for one meal so that you can freeze the leftovers in dinner-sized portions. Don't forget to date them!
- Use up your wilting vegetables and bruised tomatoes for this recipe instead of letting them go to waste.
-Italian Seasoning is a mixture of basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and other herbs.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1-1/2 - 2-1/2 hours
Yields: 7-8 cups
Recipe from Easy Meals to Cook with Kids, 2010 © by Julie Negrin

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