Several years ago, Dan and I started making homemade stocking stuffers. We usually make a batch of something big enough to give to friends as gifts as well. In past years we’ve made everything from limoncello to salted butter caramel sauce, to rosemary and lavender walnuts, to peppermint bark. Above all, the one we get asked the most often to do again is Dan’s maternal grandmother’s recipe for sauce. Or should I say gravy?
I always crave it this time of year when it’s cold outside and you want nothing more than to carb-load by tucking into a great big helping of lasagna or piles of pasta smothered in marinara.
In typical Italian fashion, there is no recipe. Just like his grandmother’s, Dan’s version varies slightly each time he makes it. Here’s the closest thing I could get to documenting it for readers to recreate.
2 large cans of tomato sauce
1 large can of either crushed or chopped tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes work really well)
1 small can tomato paste
3-4 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
Several handfuls of fresh herbs (any combination of basil, oregano, parsley)
Simmer in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours. Makes enough to keep one large container in the refrigerator and one in the freezer for later.
A splash of dry red wine (Chianti), a few pinches of crushed red pepper. Also, if the sauce seems too acidic, add a pinch or two of granulated white sugar.
Fantastic over any pasta, as a pizza sauce, and for dipping.