One of the things I hate most in the world is tomato sauce. I think it’s grimy, thick, heavy, gross, and worst of all, tastes a little like vomit. This is highly unfortunate as a love spaghetti, and what better to go along with spaghetti than tomato sauce?
One day I got this feeling that it wasn’t that I inherently hated tomato sauce, it was more that I just disliked the jarred/canned kind. Determined to test my theory, I decided to make my own sauce using local, organic produce. I scoured the internet for an easy recipe, and found one that looked simple and delicious by The Naptime Chef.
As you might have noticed from my other posts, onions are probably my favorite veggie ever. So of course, even though the recipe did not call for them, I felt the need to add onions as the sauce was cooking in on the stove. Unfortunately, I added too many and had to improvise as I was cooking to thin out the sauce and dilute the abundance of onions. Here is the recipe for the sauce I ended up making, which is absolutely delicious. The first part is adapted from The Naptime Chef’s recipe, the rest is all mine.
8-10 plum tomatoes, halved and cored
6 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
1/4 cup cilantro
1 – 1 1/2 cups onion (depending on how much you like onion)
1 – 1 1/2 cups water (depending on how thick/thin you want it to be)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place halved tomatoes in a medium sized bowl and toss with olive oil. Spread tomatoes face-up evenly across a jelly roll pan (cover the pan with aluminum foil to avoid a mess).
3. Arrange the garlic cloves around the pan. Place pan in oven and roast for 45 minutes.
4. Place tomatoes and leftover liquid into food processor or blender. Squeeze roasted garlic into processor as well. Puree until smooth.
5. Pour puree mixture into medium saucepan. Add tomato paste, onions, and cilantro. Stir until mixed completely, then slowly add water until you reach the desired consistency (it will thicken a more as it cooks, so make it a little thinner to start).
6. Bring to a boil, stirring often until sauce is thickened.
One great thing about making homemade tomato sauce is that you can freeze it in a Tupperware container until you are ready to use it. I don’t like a whole lot of sauce on my spaghetti, so the yield for me was upwards of six servings (about the same number of servings I get out of a box of spaghetti), but it might be different for you if you are a heavy-on-the-sauce type of person.
Of course, here’s a breakdown of cost for the broke college student:
8 plum tomatoes: $2 at the local farmers market
1 onion: $0.50 at the farmers market
Fresh cilantro: <$0.50
Tomato paste: $1
Box of spaghetti: $1
Total Cost: $5.50
Cost Per Meal: <$1
When you think about how much they charge for a plate of spaghetti at a nice Italian restaurant, it kind of makes you mad, doesn’t it?