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Back to basics

November 10, 2010

I could eat pasta most days of the week and never tire of it.  The sauce possibilities are almost as long a list as the shapes of pasta.  This  is a perfect foundation sauce – meaning there are a lot of things you can do with it once you have this recipe in your arsenal.  It can be served as I have, simply over spaghetti with a great loaf of bread on the side; add a bit of heat with red pepper flakes and you’ve made in into an arrabiata; toss in littleneck clams and you have spaghetti alle vongole con pomodoro.

adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Simple Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, unsalted

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame until shimmering.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add the celery, carrots and saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.  Season the sauce with 1 tsp salt or to taste and stir in the butter.  The butter will help smooth acidity from the tomatoes and round out the flavor of the sauce.

Puree the sauce in the pot with a stick blender or in the bowl of a food processor one half at a time and process until smooth. 

Sauce can be made one day ahead and stored refrigerated.

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