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Fresh Tomato Sauce

I feel it is important to have the basics under control before anyone delves into more complex recipes and food challenges in the kitchen. This recipe for fresh tomato sauce is one of my favorites. I usually keep a jar of this in the refrigerator at all times because it is so versatile. Enjoy!

4 cups rougly chopped tomatoes (I prefer beefsteak tomatoes, but any larger tomatoes will do)
1/4 c fresh basil, cut into ribbons
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 t olive oil
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add minced garlic to hot oil and saute for 4-5 minutes. Do not let garlic brown or overcook, as this will make the garlic flavor very bitter. Once garlic begins cooking, add all other ingredients to saucepan and reduce heat to low-medium for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour contents of the saucepan into blender and pulse until smoothed, but with as many chunks as you like (pulse less time for chunkier tomato sauce; For a smoother sauce, blend until totally pureed). If you prefer to use an immersion blender, this is fine. You will probably not get a completely smooth sauce with an immersion blender, so only use this if you like some chunks.

The tomato sauce will hold in your refrigerator for a week or so (do not use if it has a sour smell). This sauce is great with meatballs, over pasta, on lasagna or over stuffed shellls.

Yields about 1/2 c per serving
Makes about 8 servings.
(For the Weight Watchers out there, this is a Zero Points sauce).

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