This is one of those recipes that acts as a foundation for all kinds of great dishes. Lasagna, baked ziti, spaghetti, spaghetti pie. It’s even delicious as a breadstick dipping sauce.
About once a month, you’ll find a giant pot of Italian Tomato Sauce bubbling away on my stove, making the house smell scrumptious.
Usually when I make a big ol’ vat, I spoon some over spaghetti for an easy dinner that evening. Then I scoop the rest into labeled freezer bags to freeze and use later on.
It’s a terrific red sauce – I’ve found none better. It’s perfectly balanced – not too acidic, not too sweet – with loads of flavor thanks in part to lots of Italian seasoning, green peppers, garlic, and parsley. And when you make it with fire-roasted tomatoes … yes.
Sometimes, after it’s all done, I’ll add some to a pot of browned hamburger and spicy sausage, where I let it simmer away for another 20 minutes or so, and voila – Italian Tomato Sauce for the vegetarian converts to Italian Meat Sauce for the meat-eater.
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 – 28 ounce can whole fire-roasted tomatoes (diced fire-roasted tomatoes will work too)
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Several turns fresh-ground black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup minced fresh parsley
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion and bell pepper in the olive oil for a 2 – 3 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning and salt, then cook for about 8 more minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and black pepper. If you’re using whole tomatoes, break up the tomatoes with a spoon. Continuing to cook over medium heat and stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the garlic and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the parsley, then remove from the heat.
- Note: If you’d like to add meat to half, brown ½ pound each ground beef and sausage. Drain the fat, then add a little less than half the sauce to the meat. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Serve over pasta, in lasagna, or use it as a dipping sauce.