Growing up, I solely ate Alfredo. So did my brother. Most nights, my mom prepared penne noodles smothered in a layer of rich, creamy jarred Alfredo sauce. And we loved it. The bowl pictured above is part of a set given to my parents as a wedding gift. I remember eating pasta out of them as a kid, fighting with my brother over our favorite ones (they are all painted with different abstract animals).
Sometime in high school, or maybe college, I found my love for tomato sauce.
I prefer my sauce to have that sweet, wonderful tomato flavor without the acidity tomatoes often bring. This sauce does just that, and it’s perfect. I froze half the batch and it reheated seamlessly weeks later.
The success of this recipe paired with my most recent investment (Kitchenaid pasta attachment) resulted in wonderful ravioli filled with mascarpone, parmesan and spinach.
*Upon writing this I realized I never actually put any basil in the sauce. Giada recommends it, but I didn’t feel it needed it. Do whatever you prefer.
Makes six cups/Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 4-6 basil leaves (optional)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4-8 tablespoons butter
In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for about two minutes, or until translucent. Add the celery and carrots, then season with salt and pepper. Continue to saute until all of the vegetables are soft. Add the tomatoes, basil and bay leaves and simmer, covered, on low heat for about an hour. Remove the bay leaves and make sure the sauce is seasoned well. Then add 4 tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time. This is what makes the sauce less acidic. I found that it actually needed closer to 8 tablespoons to meet my taste.
Put half the mixture into a blender and mix until smooth. Then do the same with the other half. Or use an emersion blender and just keep it all together in the pot.