There are many, many things that are better bought than made by hand. I’d put cheese in that category, along with baguettes, peanut butter, and most condiments (though I respect people who make their own mustard). If we’re talking non-foods, I’d rather buy than DIY my soaps, candles, and pants — but I’m sure there are plenty of creative people out there who could prove me wrong.
Pasta sauce, however, is one item I refuse to put on the better-store-bought list, thanks to this recipe. If you’re still a Prego person, promise me you’ll at least try this simple and stunning marinara before resigning yourself to the sub-par stuff in aisle 7. I know I can make a believer out of you, and all you’ll need (basically) are tomatoes, fresh basil, and a boatload of garlic.
Adapted from the New York Times
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 large sprig fresh basil
Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups
Pour tomatoes into a large bowl. Crush with your hands. I’m serious. Get in there and squeeze those tomatoes until you have a thick, pulpy consistency. Fill empty, unrinsed can with 1 cup of water and set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook until just beginning to sizzle. Add tomatoes then the reserved tomato water. Stir in salt and oregano. Place basil sprig in the middle (“like a flower,” says the whimsical New York Times writer). Let it wilt and sink into the sauce.
Let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes until thickened. Discard basil sprig.
Now wasn’t that easy?