For The Love of Garlic

“This dish has too much garlic.”

That is a phrase never uttered in my house. Maybe it is because I am part Italian, but I LOVE garlic. The scent of garlic cooking is a scent that will always make my mouth water. Except maybe dessert, although I have heard there is garlic ice cream, I can’t think of a dish that isn’t made better with garlic.  There is a Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA, and pretty sure it is on my bucket list. Needless to say I love garlic, thankfully I live with someone who loves garlic as much as I do, so there is no awkward garlic breath moments.

My name is Ryan, and I am addicted to garlic…

One of my favorite things to make with garlic is my Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce, which is my go to anytime I need a pasta sauce. This sauce is super simple to make and can be made with just a few ingredients. Once you know how to make your own pasta sauce there is no reason to buy jarred sauce.  If you have a can of tomatoes, some aromatics (onions, garlic, etc.), some herbs (dried are fine), oil, and an hour to spare you can make a pasta sauce that will almost always rival a jar of pasta sauce you can buy at the grocery store.

The great thing about homemade sauce is that it is mostly hands-off prep time, add your ingredients to a pot, stir every 15 or 20 minutes and let time work it’s magic. Added bonus, tomato sauce freezes wonderfully, so next time canned tomatoes are on sale you can stock up!  This is one of these recipes where canned items are actually superior to fresh. Fresh tomatoes are delicious, but without a food mill or the patience to blanch, seed, and crush fresh tomatoes, it can be a pain to make pasta sauce. When using canned tomatoes make sure you taste, because some tomatoes can have a “tinny” taste that can make your sauce taste acidic. If you have an acidic sauce add 1 teaspoon of sugar and cook for another 5 or 10 minutes; you don’t want the sauce to taste sweet, you are just trying to take the “tang” out of the sauce.

Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce

Makes About 1 Quart of Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 – 10 cloves garlic, minced or ran through a garlic press
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes or pureed tomatoes (if you want a smoother sauce)
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar (optional, taste to see if the sauce is too acidic)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional, but I HIGHLY recommend this, it is my secret ingredient to adding depth to the sauce)
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Add your minced or pressed garlic to a saucepan with the olive oil (smaller the better) over LOW heat; do not burn the garlic, it will get bitter. You want the oil to slightly cover the garlic.

2. Stir in your salt and slowly poach the garlic in the oil for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the garlic and make sure it doesn’t get too brown.

3. After the garlic is done, add the canned tomatoes to a dutch oven, pasta pot or a deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and garlic-infused oil to the tomatoes and stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the italian seasoning.

Canned tomatoes before adding the garlic and garlic oil.

4. Cook over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes and taste, adding sugar if needed.  Cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and let cook for another 10 minutes or so. The balsamic beautifully rounds out the sauce. As long as the sauce remains over low heat, you can keep cooking it until it gets to the taste and thickness you desire, adding salt and pepper to taste.  The sauce is incredible over pasta, ravioli, sandwiches or frozen for storage.

Sauce after about 45 minutes of cooking. Stir to incorporate the garlic oil.

Roasted Garlic Sauce over Homemade Wonton Pea Ravioli

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