This Italian Red Sauce is the standard sauce for pastas, pizzas, lasagna, and just about anything else that requires a basic red sauce to complete a dish. Very easy to prepare and freezes well for those last minute meals prepared on the fly!
I do recommend you seek out the best quality Italian canned tomatoes and paste you can find. The flavor of vine ripened Italian tomatoes does make a difference!
Italian Red Sauce Makes about 8 cups
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon finely grated garlic
- 2 tablespoons finely grated carrots
- ¼ cup dry red or white wine (optional)
- 1 ½ tablespoons imported Italian tomato paste
- 42oz imported canned Italian tomatoes and their juices, crushed using your hands (or prepared Italian passata)
- 4 cups of water + more as needed
- sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large non-reactive sauce pot over medium low heat. When the oil is hot add the diced onions and a pinch of salt. Saute for about 8 minutes or until the onions are soft, translucent, and just beginning to color.
Add the grated garlic and grated carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the wine (if using) and saute until the wine has been absorbed and the pot is nearly dry.
Make a well in the center of the pot and add the tomato paste. Smear it around with a wooden spoon until it begins to caramelize and then stir it into the onion mixture.
Promptly add the tomatoes and their juices. Stir to combine and bring to a low simmer. Once the sauce is reduced slightly add the water, stirring it into the sauce. Once the sauce returns to a simmer adjust the heat so that the sauce is barely bubbling and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring now and again, and adding more water as needed as the sauce reduces and thickens.
Once the sauce has reached a rich flavorful consistency, taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your liking, keeping in mind that the sauce is a base to which you will be adding other ingredients that may be salty in their own right later.
Set the sauce aside to cool for 15 or 20 minutes, transfer to storage containers, and set on a cooling rack until the sauce is at room temperature. You can then cover the sauce and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.