The usual cast of characters for making a nice, simple sauce for spaghetti:
This is a nice deep pot, it's often referred to as a "Chef's pot", you can use a large stew pot also, but I'm partial to using the handle on the pot. I have cooked my hands on the small handles on stew pots too many times.
Spices: Garlic Powder, and Basil. I know it says Italian Herb Mix on that bottle, but I'm a believer in simplicity, and adding flavor as you cook, so start with a nice simple base and go from there. That being said, if you are going to buy spices, check out Penzeys Spices. FANTASTIC spices. The McCormick Garlic Powder is O.K. We just bought it because we were waiting on getting another large order for Penzeys together.
I don't have a favorite brand for tomatoes here in town. If you can find Pastene Kitchen Ground tomatoes, use those, they seem to have a taste that I like...your mileage may vary. You just need a big can of crushed tomatoes, a medium can of diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
Whoops, I forgot the star of the show. Garlic. I was lazy today and used a jar. I use a lot. I prefer to mince my garlic myself, but this will do in a pinch.
Pour your OliveOil into your large pan. Don't waste your Extra Virgin Olive Oil on cooking, the heat kind of ruins the extra flavor. Use your Extra Virgin Olive Oil for dressings or for dipping crusty bread in to go along with your meal.
Rougly two Tablespoons of oil will do the job. Make sure your burner is turned up to almost medium heat on your stove.
I use a LOT of garlic. We like garlic here. This is probably 1 1/2 Tablespoons of garlic. Stir it up in the oil, pay attention, you want it to get a little bit of color, but you don't want it to burn. If you burn it, wash out your pot and start over. Burned garlic is NASTY.
See that nice garlic cooking there? Yes, it's a little golden, I took it off the heat so that I could show you that you should put in about 1 1/2 teaspoons of Basil or Italian Seasoning. Rub it between your palms as you add it to your garlic. It helps release the aromatics.
Stir, stir, stir. I let it cook almost a minute after adding in the spices. You are working on getting layers of flavor here.
Now, use a skinny rubber scraper and help that tomato paste into your spices. This needs to cook a little bit, too.
Stir well to combine it with the flavors in your pan. I like to make sure it is stirred all over the bottom of the pan to pick up all the flavors from cooking up those spices.
Yes, add more Garlic. I use about a Tablespoon of Garlic Powder here. The tomato paste has started to change it's form, from a sticky, clumpy substance, and now it's a little softer. It spreads out in the bottom of the pan nicely.
Add your can of ground tomatoes. Stir it up really well. Add your can of diced tomatoes.
Stir them in too. Pay attention to the thickness of your sauce here. If you like it a little runnier, add some water. That can of diced tomatoes is a good measure of water. I like to add water as it cooks now and then. I was going to use this sauce for a lasagne, so I wanted it somewhat thick.
Taste the sauce, if you want, add some more Basil. Rub it between your hands again. If anything it will make you smell like you've been working very, very hard that day. No one needs to know how easy this really is!
Mmmm...it's now just started to boil. Time to turn it down.
Set the temperature just above low. Put a lid on your pot, and stir it every now and then until it's simmered for a while. I like to cook my sauce for a few hours. I let this simmer until after we had dinner, and the popped the mixture into the fridge. The next morning I put together my lasagne and refrigerated it until an hour before I baked it.
Once you do this, you'll never buy a jarred sauce again. It's so easy to make this up and freeze it or save it for all your spaghetti/pizza sauce needs.