March 10, 2010


This month, Caleb and I are trying very hard to eat better. We're following guidelines found in Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food. As a result, we're working at eliminating foods from our diets that have unnecessary preservatives, ingredients that seem unpronounceable (or have numbers in them), and items with high-fructose corn syrup. Those are just some of the 'rules' we're trying hard to follow. As a result, I've been making more things from scratch. I love cooking and working with food, and was excited to try to make the perfect tomato pasta sauce. I love tomato pasta sauce that has tons of ingredients in it, and chunks of tomato. Caleb likes really smooth pasta sauce that coats the pasta and wraps itself around the noodles. My challenge was to find a great tomato pasta sauce that we could both enjoy and was simple to make.
The sauce I came up with is an adaptation of "A Fine Tomato Pasta Sauce" in The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook. It makes a lot of sauce, so be sure to have some empty Mason jars ready to store it in the freezer. Also, be sure to let the sauce cool completely before putting the lid on it and freezing it, or else you might find that Mason jars are tough, but no match for expanding heat and tomato sauce. I recommend putting it in the jar (or whatever container you want to use to freeze it), keeping the lid off, put it in the fridge for a few hours, and then, when completely cool, put the lid on and move it to the freezer.

A Smooth Tomato Pasta Sauce
Adapted from The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook, by Elizabeth Baird

A dollop of olive oil.
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, grated
4 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
A pinch of hot pepper flakes
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1 can (2.8 L) crushed tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp granulated sugar

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook garlic, onion, carrot, basil, oregano, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper, stirring often, 5 minutes or until onion is softened.

Add tomatoes, stir in tomato paste and sugar. Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and with an immersion blender , purée until smooth.

Either serve over top of pasta or else refrigerate in airtight container for a couple of days or else freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat to serve.

Note: Depending on the type of tomatoes you buy they could be or less acidic. Adjust the amount of sugar to help balance out the acidity. Or, use your own favourite sweetener, try honey, stevia, brown sugar, or something completely different. This sauce is open to interpretation, and not yet perfect, so feel free to put in some of your favourite spices and mix it up to make it your own.

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