This got me through college. All 14 1/2 years of undergrad.
5 Large Tomatoes (Can substitute with 2 cans of tomatoes)
First Press Olive Oil (Look Close on the container and it will say what press)
Fresh Basil Leaves (Can substitute with the spice rack kind but shouldn’t)
3 Cloves Garlic
1/4 – 1/2 Full red onion ( the amount depends on the size of the onion. Goal is to have more onion than garlic.)
The Recipe Directions
Get yourself a healthy looking saucepan with handle. Use your judgment (The pan has to hold all of the ingredients comfortably, so you should smack yourself with a tack hammer if you pull out the small breakfast egg-flipping pan for this recipe). Like mom, I don’t use teaspoons, tablespoons, or any of that measuring garbage. I learned with Mississippi’s (seconds) and pinches. 2 Mississippi the oil into the pan.
Chop your garlic and onion and place those in the oiled pan (Mom was fairly consistent with her chopping. The finished chop should be no larger than your fingernail. If you want a different consistency, chop to your preference but the tack hammer will apply for straying from her recipe.) Simmer at medium and occasionally mix with the wooden spoon (or it can stick). Keep this up until the contents in the pan browns on the edges.
If you are going the authentic way, take the cleaned tomatoes in hand (yes you have to clean all of your ingredients silly) and rip them up right into a bowl. Yes. Like a Neanderthal, rip the tomatoes to shreds and throw it into a bowl.
Drop 3 or for full basil leaves in the mix as well. Make a cup with your hand (like you are panhandling and asking for cash with palm up) pour a little pinch of salt into your hand. (about a dime in circumference and 1/2 an inch in height) throw that into the mix. Go with half a pinch of black pepper for good measure. DERIVATIONS: The aunt Francis approach is half a pinch of salt no pepper. The Filippo Calabro approach changes black for red pepper. “itsa good for da hearta.”
Then drop the whole bowl into the saucepan with the browned ingredients. This bowl should be ready right when the onions and garlic are browned. If not, you will burn the onions and garlic.
You will have already opened the cans of tomato (if you took the lame way out instead of the authentic way). If you when this direction, pour the cans into the saucepan. WATCH OUT. If you whip that stuff in there too quickly you will burn yourself. Then refer to the previous paragraph.
Put a lid on the pan and cook at medium. If you don’t have a lid for this pan SHAME ON YOU. Then grab any lid that can somewhat be placed over the pan. Tilt the lid on the saucepan so air can escape from one end (I have yet to see a lid with hole that actually lets a good amount of steam out). Occasionally lift the lid and mix the sauce with a wooden spoon (once again you don’t want this too burn and stick to the pan). The whole place will stink up in a way that will make Emeril jealous. The tomatoes will start to break up into more of a watery liquid. This is good! Start to taste your sauce. (This is where wood spoons are great. Metal spoons burn the poop out of your lips when you are tasting. Not wood!) If it needs more salt, apply another pinch. Pepper? 1/2 a pinch. Moms stuff was never too spicy. You’ll know when its done because the tomatoes start separating easily from their skins and the sauce is primarily liquid. Whola! You are done!
DERIVATION: Michelle doesn’t fry the onions with the garlic in the beginning. She puts them in about a quarter of the way into cooking the tomatoes. This really changes the taste to a raw spicy one! (I was very close to breaking out the tack hammer, but mom not only approved this derivation, she said it’s a much healthier approach. Michelle was lucky this time!)