This gets filed under the header of Things I Eat With A Spoon (all day every day that it happens to be in the fridge). Onions and a generous splash of wine add lovely sweetness to the sauce, and a blast of high heat at the end concentrates the caramelized tomato flavor.
For spoon-eating purposes, leave the sauce as is, studded with nubs of caramelized garlic and sweet, soft onions. If tossing the sauce with pasta, or using as a base for shakshuka (as you should -- you really, really should), consider blitzing it in a blender first. Consider making twice as much as you think you'll need, too. It will be devoured.
My Favorite Tomato Sauce
Makes 2 cups of sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced then roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup wine (white or red, whichever you have lying around -- but preferably red)
1 28-ounce can whole or crushed tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
1 basil sprig
In a lidded pot or deep-walled sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and garlic cloves. Sauté, stirring only 2-3 times, until they begin to turn golden (about 6-8 minutes -- some nice golden-brown color on the garlic cloves is ideal). Add the oregano and stir, then add the wine, stir, and let it simmer and deglaze until nearly evaporated.
If using whole tomatoes, crush them with your hand (just reach on into that can and squeeze…preferably not while wearing a light-colored shirt, as these things are squirters) before adding to the pan. Add the salt, stir well, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir once or twice during that time to loosen anything that’s sticking to the bottom of the pan.
After 20 minutes, the flavors will be incorporated, but the sauce will be a bit watery. So remove the lid, crank up the heat to medium-high, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Store the tomato sauce in a container in the fridge with a sprig of basil tucked inside (it perfumes the sauce quite wonderfully). Or, if you’re serving the sauce right away, thinly slice the basil leaves and stir ‘em on in.