Reporters talk about stories that fight them; stories that don’t want to come together, no matter how easy the subject matter is or how many sources have been consulted. A story that should take half an hour to write will take two hours, and for no apparent reason.
Recipes can be this way, too. I had this experience over the weekend, when a relatively simple gumbo recipe went rogue on me. I burned the roux and had to remake it — twice — and when I went to pour the broth into all of the other ingredients, I heard a distinct and disgusting plop.
Suffice to say, the broth had spoiled in a spectacular way, despite the fact that it had been freshly purchased from the grocery store that morning. Two turkey thighs, half a bag of frozen okra, an onion, a bell pepper and four links of chorizo made their way to the trash.
Everyone has nights like this. That’s why I always keep a few cans of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato paste and an extra onion around. Within half an hour of spoiling whatever I was going to make for dinner, I can save the day with this quick tomato sauce.
In spirit, this was inspired by Deb Perelman’s Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion, the first tomato sauce I ever made from scratch. But in the almost four years since I first made it, my own version has evolved substantially, only resembling its ancestor in ease of preparation.
You can make this easily in the time it will take you to roast a spaghetti squash to serve it on. If you’re not gluten-free, throw this in a food processor or through an immersion blender and spread it on a split baguette with parmesan cheese for clean eating french bread pizzas. Any way you do it, this sauce is the best-tasting dinner-saver ever.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if desired)
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, and wine. Stir well to combine.
- Bring sauce to a boil and let simmer on low for 30 minutes. Smooth out with immersion blender if desired. Serve warm over spaghetti squash or whatever your heart desires.