There’s no question that this sauce is a step up from any mass-produced store-bought variety. The end result is deep and complex, with the tomatoes reduced down to their sweet, acidic essence.
- 6 lbs. tomatoes (about 16 medium; see notes for substituting canned)
- Kosher salt
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 9 cloves garlic
- 2 to 4 T olive oil
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 T tomato paste
- 1/2 C dry red wine
- 8 C chopped mushrooms, 1/2 in. pieces (from 2, 10 oz. packages)
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce/puree (omit if using canned tomatoes)
- 1 t dried basil
- Ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut each tomato into quarters, then remove the white core in one angled cut. Use fingers to scoop out the seeds. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, face up, and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Add ¼ C water to the pan and cover with foil. Cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes, covered in foil, while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Chop the onion small and mince the garlic cloves. Set aside separately.
- Use tongs or your fingers to pull most of the skins from the steamed tomatoes. Discard skins (or let me know if you have a use for them!).
- In a large pot, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until just beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for another couple minutes, allowing to fry and darken slightly. Stir in the red pepper flakes and tomato paste, and cook for a couple minutes, until the paste is incorporated.
- Add wine and simmer until mostly reduced. Add tomatoes and water from the tray, mushrooms, tomato sauce, 1 C water, and dried basil. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover until mushrooms have softened to the point that they’re edible, about 15 minutes. Remove lid and continue simmering, until sauce is over 50% reduced—it should be thick with very little water left and starting to stick to the bottom of the pan between stirring. Mine took about 2 ½ hours. Season with salt and black pepper if needed (check first—the mushrooms and wine add a lot of flavor). Use immediately, store in the refrigerator for a couple days, or freeze until needed.
To use canned tomatoes, substitute three 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes, with their liquid, roughly chopped. OMIT the tomato puree and the added water. To easily chop the tomatoes, use a butter knife to press them against the inside walls of the can.
Use any type of tomato or mushrooms you like. I used standard, on-the-vine tomatoes and white button mushrooms, which are most cost-effective.
As always, use a wine you would be comfortable drinking, as long as it’s not too sweet. If you prefer to omit the wine, add an additional 1/2 C water and 1 to 2 tablespoons of sweetener (e.g., white or brown sugar, honey; use less for maple syrup or agave) when you add the mushrooms
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 3 hours 30 mins
- Category: Condiment
- Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free