Tips for Making the Best Tomato Sauce
Forget opening a jar of store-bought tomato sauce - there's nothing like the fresh, homemade kind to add to your pasta and meatball dinner. Every family has their own recipe for creating the best tasting sauce, but there are several universal tips that everyone can agree on for making it perfect. Follow this guide to preparing a great sauce every time.
Use the Freshest Ingredients
Tomato sauce is only as good as its ingredients, so be sure to take the time to gather the best ones. Even if you choose to use canned tomatoes as the main ingredient in your sauce, you'll need all of the other ingredients to be fresh and packed with flavor. If you're adding onions or herbs, make sure they were recently purchased from a market or properly stored in your freezer. Use a FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer to keep these important elements as fresh as can be.
Roast Your Tomatoes Beforehand
Chop up your tomatoes - or open a can of jarred tomatoes - and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top and dress with some salt and pepper. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 20 minutes to roast tomatoes to perfection. This step is a sauce game-changer that only takes minutes, but brings out a more robust flavor that you'll love. Mash them up after roasting and all of the great flavor will disperse throughout your sauce as you cook it.
Add Some Flavor
This is where many people differ. Some prefer a meaty sauce while others are more likely to use vegetables and herbs to jazz up the flavor. Some tasty combinations are red wine and olive oil, which work together to add richness without competing with the natural tomato flavor. If you'd like to try a southern Italian take on tomato sauce, add onions and a dash of sugar, which both give sauce a sweeter taste as the ingredients caramelize. Another tasty combination is carrots, celery and onions, which you should cook before adding to your sauce. You'll get extra nutrients and a hearty end product. Get creative with the ingredients you add to your sauce, and try different combinations until you find your favorite one.
Nail the Texture
If you're like many other foodies and place a great deal of importance on the texture of your food, you likely hate sauce that's too watery or chunky. Get the perfect texture every time by adding the right ingredients. Butter may not sound like something you should put in your sauce, but it actually thickens it up without adding too much flavor. Adding in some meatballs or ground beef will also thicken it up and add a distinct, rich flavor.
Aside from ingredients, the way you cook the sauce will also contribute to its consistency. If you're using a slow cooker, remove the lid for the last hour of cooking and change the setting to high. Doing so will give you a thicker sauce that you'll want to eat by the spoonful.
Slow Cook That Sauce
A great tomato sauce can't be rushed. Tomatoes are packed with natural sugars, so the longer you cook them, the more flavor the sugars will release. That's why your Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Countdown Digital Slow Cooker plays a crucial role in making the best tasting tomato sauce. Load in all of your ingredients, cover with the lid and cook on low for 8 hours to extract the most flavor from all of your savory ingredients. You'll never cook your sauce any other way after experiencing a slow cooked Italian gravy!