tomato sauce and pasta with meatballs

do you remember those meatballs that we made earlier this month along with our italian-style meatloaf? (no worries if you didn't make them before, you can refer back to the meatloaf recipe and make them tonight!)  well, now is the time to pull them out of the freezer to enjoy with tonight's dinner of homemade tomato sauce with pasta (yes, i said homemade).  no need to fret, because this tomato sauce is very quick-cooking and simple.  really.  there is no need to simmer it for hours and hours to develop the flavor.  you can make it while the pasta water is boiling!  and, once you try it and see for yourself how easy and delicious it is, you will discover, as i did, that there is no need to use  jarred pasta sauce again!  the recipe below makes a large batch so that there will be enough to freeze about two extra portions.  you know i love my freezer:)  in my opinion, this is one of those staples (along with homemade beans and chicken stock and good pie crusts) that you should always have on hand.  so, before you start the sauce, put on the pasta water to boil and throw the meatballs into your toaster oven at 300 degrees to warm up. your go-to tomato sauce

in a large pot pour about 5 tabelspoons of olive oil.  be sure that the bottom of the pot is well coated.  add 5 cloves of minced garlic, 3 yellow onions finely chopped (take the time to do this correctly.  it makes a difference in the final product.  few people want to chew big pieces of onion with their pasta.) and hefty pinch of kosher salt and heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the onions turn translucent.

dump in 2 large cans of whole plum tomatoes (my preference is imported san marzano tomatoes but we also use trader joe's brand or muir glen—you can use whatever brand you prefer).  bring to a rapid simmer (your stove will be speckled with tomato sauce, so save some time for clean-up).  add about 1 cup of white wine.  reduce heat to a low simmer (you should still see some bubbles on surface) and let sauce reduce.  every now and then, smash up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. allow liquid to reduce by about 1/3.  this is about the time you should add your pasta (we used spahghetti) to the boiling water.

once sauce is reduced, season with more salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar (this brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes).  by this time, your pasta should be done.  if your sauce seems too thick you can "loosen" it a bit with some pasta cooking water (wait until the end of pasta cooking time when the water is nice and starchy).  drain pasta, toss with sauce.  top with grated parmesan cheese, fresh tears of basil, and your meatballs.

again, this sauce is very versatile. if you like your sauce spicy, you can saute some dried chilis with the onion and garlic.  if you want a meat sauce, you can brown ground meat first then add it to the finished sauce. once you have it in the freezer, you can pull it out for more pasta, lasagna, or as a base for seafood sauce—just add shrimp, clams, and/or mussels to it.  the options are endless.  enjoy!