Tag Archives: sauce

Simple Tomato Sauce

I love a good tomato sauce, but for some reason I rarely make my own. However, after being draw in to a tomatoey, cheese-y picture of Chicken Parmesan on Tasty Kitchen, I decided that for this decadent dish I really needed to make my own sauce.

So today the sauce, tomorrow the chicken! It’s a plan.

Adapted from this lovely recipe, this tomato sauce isn’t complicated, and packs so much more flavor than the jarred variety.  It’s delightfully thick (if that’s your thing), and so healthy! I used about 2 cups of it, and froze the rest in small bags for future use.

It just warms my heart to see the bags waiting in the freezer for the day when the spaghetti impulse hits me.


(Makes approx. 6 cups)

1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion
5 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
4 TBS butter, optional

Chop up the onion and mince the garlic.

Chop up the carrot and celery too.

Don’t worry about being precise since it will all get pureed in the end.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes, until it’s all soft and translucent.

Add the celery, carrot, some salt and pepper.

Cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies are softened.

Add the tomatoes . . .

. . . basil, and bay leaves . . .

. . . and cover with a splatter screen.

Turn down the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour. This means it’s time to put your feet up and read a good novel while the delicious scents start swirling out of your kitchen.

After the hour is up, remove the bay leaves and taste for seasoning.

Add 1 TBS of butter at a time up the to the full 4 TBS, tasting in between, to round out the flavors.

Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until it’s as smooth as you want it.

Allow the sauce to cool completely and, if you’re not using it immediately, pour it into freezer bags in 1-2 cup portions. It will keep frozen for about 6 months.

Isn’t it a thing of beauty?

I took my hints on how to best photograph this sauce from the creator of the original recipe, whose pictures are just gorgeous.

Thanks for the idea and inspiration, Sweet Pea Chef!

Though we’ll be making Chicken Parmesan with this good stuff tomorrow, you can use it for so many things: to spread on a pizza, to make spaghetti, Arroz a la Cubana, lasagna, etc. Conclusion: make some homemade tomato sauce!

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Deer Steaks with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce

Mark my words: this sauce would be good on anything.

Does it look like pasta in the picture? Look again–it’s gloriously caramelized onion, swimming in a sauce that gave heaven its name.

I happened to serve it with deer steak, but think regular steaks. Chicken breasts. Pork. Chicken thighs. Probably not fish since fish flesh is so delicate and the sauce is so thick . . . but then again, why not with a hearty piece of salmon? I’ll take any occasion I can get to eat this sauce.

It could even work by itself! (Think: decadent side dish.)

The Pioneer Woman told me to make it shortly after I started reading her blog about a year and a half ago. Thankfully I acted in full obedience, because if I hadn’t, I might not be where I am today.

Which is in front of this plate, eating this glorious sauce.

The original recipe is here, but I’m going to make it for you as well.


2 whole steaks (deer or otherwise)

2 TBS butter

Salt and pepper

4 TBS butter

1 large onion

1 c heavy cream

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Now get ready for a truly incredible experience.

Seriously–are you ready for this?

Okay then.

First, melt some butter in a pan or on a stovetop grill.

Or a real grill, if you’re a real man!

Oh wait, my man was in charge of the steaks on the cast iron stovetop grill . . . so never mind! You’re a man regardless! Unless you’re a woman. Wow this is getting complicated. Forget all of the above and just melt the dang butter.

Grab the steaks:

Instead of 2 large ones, we had a bunch of smaller ones. Season the steaks with salt and pepper, and cook/grill until they’re done to your liking.

I choose medium.

Here they are, ready to be eaten by this ravenous carnivore that I sometimes become.

And now for the sauce! So simple–only 4 ingredients. Butter, onions, cream, cheese.

Cut the onion in half lengthwise, then halve each half. Are you confused yet? Here. I’ll show you.

Now slice it into thin quarter-moon shaped strips.

Start melting the 4 TBS butter in a skillet.

Add the onion, and cook over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, until the onion starts to caramelize.

Add a little salt and pepper along the way. As soon as the onions are a lovely darkish golden brown color, reduce the heat to low and add the cream.

Oooooh. Whooooaaaaa. Mmmmmmm (the onion sauce has this effect–watch out).

Cook for a few minutes until the cream has reduced by about half.

The cream will take on the lovely golden color of the onions, and you will stare at it transfixed, tongue hanging out, eyes glistening in anticipation, hands scrambling for a spoon. I hope no one’s watching you while this happens, because I’ve been told it can be quite frightening for onlookers.

Right at the end, grab the blue cheese and dump it into the sauce:

Are you a blue cheese hater? If so, please think twice about your stance. Pretty please?Especially because this sauce doesn’t scream ‘blue cheese!’ at you when it’s all done. The rich cheese just adds a rich and wonderful creamy richness to it. There–I used ‘rich’ three times, just to make sure we’re all clear here on what the blue cheese does, exactly.

Stir in the blue cheese and let it melt–and we’re done! Now spoon a large quantity of the sauce on a plate:

Top it off with a piece of steak.

For some reason, I chose a steak that has the shape of the continent of Africa.

That’s another sign you need to make this meal asap–it can turn into a family learning experience. Nothing like a little geography at the dinner table.

I think I can see the city of Casablanca–are those little people running around?

Oh, never mind–it was just some black pepper.

I could have sworn it moved, though.

Enough smart talk! Let’s eat.

Please make sure to slather each bite of meat in this sauce.

Or you can do as we did, and serve it over a heaping pile of rice. The rice does a wonderful job of absorbing that sauce and sending you straight into a state of Nirvana.

What a way to celebrate the over-the-halfway hump in the week that is Wednesday.

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