Tuesday, August 13

Canned: Homemade Pasta Sauce

My Mother-in-Law's Spicy Tomato Sauce

In 2006, I met the best home cook I'd ever met. This past summer I married her son, and am now lucky enough to call that cook my mother-in-law. One of the first recipes she wrote down for me was this easy homemade tomato sauce. I'm sure I've made it 50 times. If not 100. 


48 oz Crushed Tomatoes
1 Large Yellow Onion
3 Clove Garlic (or more if you like)
1 handful Chopped Basil
3 tbs. Olive Oil
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
Salt & Pepper

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot with the olive oil. Add onions, cooking until translucent. Add Garlic, and saute with onions 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes. Season to taste. Add Basil 5 minutes before serving, saving some to garnish. Serve over pasta with parmesan cheese for a simple spaghetti.  

If you plan on a canning your sauce, you have two options: You can add lemon juice to increase the acidity and safely can your sauce in a hot water bath, or you can freeze the sauce. I recommend freezing sauce if you're a canning novice. Otherwise, do your research on the proper acidity requirements for preserving in boiling water without a pressure cooker. 

To Freeze: 

Prepare jars and lids by sanitizing them in boiling water for 10-12 minutes. Only use Ball wide mouth jars. Jars with "shoulders," or ones that are more narrow at the top than the bottom, will crack when frozen (as will cheap/off brand jars for the record). I also avoid using plastic containers, too. I do not like how they absorb oil, lose their shape, and risk leaching out BPAs as they breakdown over time. Plus, how do you really deep clean plastic? Stick with glass. 

One of the most important steps to not forget is to LABEL your sauce. Because, if you are me, you can't remember what you ate for dinner the-day-before-yesterday. 

After jars are dry, you can add the sauce. Make sure you do not pass the fill line (it's the tiny line right under the bottom ridge of the seal on Ball jars). If you cannot find the fill line, leave a good inch from the top of the jar. When frozen the sauce may expand, and leaving room will prevent any breakage/mess. Let jars cool completely before placing them into the freezer. The sauce will last 8-12 months, but we'll be eating ours long before then.