A Vat of Simple Tomato Sauce, Garlicky or Vegetable
3quarts, or enough for 3 meals (serving 4)
3quarts, or enough for 3 meals (serving 4)
  1. Heat the oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a large pot over medium-high heat until the garlic starts to sizzle, just a couple of minutes.
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and pepper flakes and cook until vegetables soften, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes. Use the wine or water to rinse out the cans and add to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the sauce thickens and the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add enough tomato paste so that you’ve made a thick, full-bodied sauce, not soup. Simmer to blend the flavors, a few minutes longer. Cool the sauce and divide it among 3 sealed containers. (Can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or frozen for several months.)
Recipe Notes

Note: If using canned crushed tomatoes, you may not need any tomato paste. If using San Marzano whole tomatoes packed in puree, you will likely use the whole can of paste.

Dinner suggestion:

SAUSAGE CREOLE (Serve over rice)
This Creole sauce can easily be transformed with a switch in protein. Using 1 pound cubed boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of sausages makes it Chicken Creole. For Shrimp Creole, omit the sausages and stir in 1 pound peeled shrimp, cut into bite-size pieces, during the last few minutes of cooking. Of course, a combo is always good—especially half of each: sausage and shrimp.

Cook: 1 pound sliced smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, in 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add and sauté ½ large bell pepper, cut into short strips, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Add: 1 quart Vegetable Tomato Sauce, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Adjust the seasonings and serve.