I have posted a base marinara sauce recipe before but over the years I tweaked it a bit here and there to make the best version possible, in my opinion, to suit my family’s taste. To be honest, we like to eat spaghetti bolognese a lot…and previously I was not able to get that meat sauce right. I did resolve to using the jarred ones sold in the market but my family didn’t like it saying it was too sugary sweet. My previous marinara sauce although it was good for pizzas and rolls, when it comes to making a bolognese sauce, the taste fell short. So after years of experimenting, I have stuck to this recipe which uses roasted vegetables. And of course, if there is a recipe that I can incorporate as much vegetables as possible while appearing invisible to my kids, that is a win too.
I would say that the secret to this sauce (I guess it’s no more a secret after I write this) is adding roasted pepper to the mixture. I took the onion, the garlic and pepper and roast them all in the oven to bring out a smoky taste and to compensate sweetness so I don’t have to add more sugar since roasting garlic and onions makes them sweet.
I love bell peppers, they bring out that subtle flavour and spiciness and pepper with garlic and onions are matches made in heaven. If you’re wondering whether it was all worth the effort making this sauce and what can it be used for, I have listed out some recipes below from my blog archives which can just as well use this sauce as the base. But depending on your dish, you can alter it with just some addition of different spices or herbs, or make it spicier or leave it mild as it is.
For this recipe, I used canned diced tomatoes, this is me saving time and effort, you can just as easily use fresh tomatoes but you have to remove the skins because the skins don’t blend very well. For that you have to score them, blanch them in hot water and peel them off and later de-seed the pulp and chop them. Canned ones already does all the job for you, if you’re concerned about the salt or sugar content, there are organic canned tomatoes and salt free canned tomatoes. This recipe makes enough sauce to fill a decent 900ml jar.
RECIPE FOR BASIC TOMATO SAUCE
1 green pepper/ capsicum
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 medium onion, chopped roughly
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 100gms can of tomato puree
Basil leaves, chopped
1. Chop the green pepper in half and remove the seeds and stem. Trim away the white membrane inside. Chop the pepper into rough pieces.
2. Place the whole garlic cloves, chopped pepper and chopped onion into a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with some salt and black pepper.
3. Place it in a pre-heated 180C oven for about 45 mins or 30 mins depending on your oven.
4. They’re ready when the peppers have softened, have a slight burnt tinge and the onions are browned.
5. Pour over the can of diced tomatoes, juice and all into the tray. Scrape the bottom of the pan for all the lovely brown bits.
6. Pour everything into a pot with gentle heat on the stove. Pour in the can of tomato puree. Fill the puree can with water and add it to the pot.
7. Let everything come to a slow boil, giving it a few stirs. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped basil leaves at the very end.
8. Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature and blitz in a food processor or a hand blender.
9. Keep in airtight jars or containers in the fridge until ready to use.