This is a special one to me. Being Italian, creating a simple, delisuous tomato sauce is a right of passage. Everyone has their method and their “secret” item. I keep mine simple and almost neutral. I can evolve it further to fit with what I’m cooking if need be. What you’ll need:
Red chili flake
That seems like a lot, but its so easy to do. First heat your olive oil, add your garlic and chili flake and infuse the oil with those flavors.
Add your small diced fennel, onion and celery, sweat down and season. Once this is done I add my chopped herbs. I mix this around a bit and add my red wine.
Then I add my diced tomatoes and simmer for around an hour. I like mine chunky, I like the texture. You can blend it, but I think it’s really better a little chunky. Chunky sauce sits on your pasta better anyway. Now this is a neutral Italian tomato sauce that can be used in so many ways.
Growing your own herbs saves a lot of money, creates a better product and is really easy to do. I’m currently growing chives, thyme and basil. It’s now fall so the lack of sunlight limits what will and won’t grow well. At this point of the year I would reccomend buying starts. Herbs that have already sprouted. To grow more delicate herbs at this time I would reccomend a garden lamp. It helps supply some artificial form of sunlight.
When starting from seeds make sure your soil is moist and full of nutrients. Most herbs require being planted between 1/4-1/2″ deep. The soul should constantly be kept moist I reccomend checking it twice a day. Make sure the area where planted gets a moderate amount of sunlight. Too much sun will dry them out and sun bleach the herbs, but too little stunts growth.
I,being a culinary student, love using fresh herbs. There’s nothing quite like making pasta and having fresh basil to pick just feet away. Thyme for my sauces like my tomato sauce. Herbs on a window ceil are a great way to cut costs and elevate your food.