Of course we could just buy a jar of pasta sauce. But it can be expensive, and sometimes quite bland too. This slow cooker sauce is rich and delicious, and because it’s a bulk recipe there’s plenty left over to freeze. And it costs a fraction of anything we’d buy in the supermarket. Tip: We should buy the best-quality tinned tomatoes we can afford.
- 4 x 800g cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 8 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 medium carrot, cut into large chunks
- 1 medium onion, split in half
- 1 large stem fresh basil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley or basil leaves (or a mix of the two)
- Place tomatoes in a large bowl. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes by squeezing them until pieces no larger than 1/2-inch remain. Transfer 3 cups of crushed tomatoes to a sealed container and reserve in the fridge.
- 2. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add pepper flakes and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, carrot, onion, and basil, and stir to combine. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over high heat.
- 3. Transfer to slow cooker. Cook, stirring once every 1 to 2 hours, until reduced by about half and darkened to a deep red. This should take 5 to 6 hours on high (reduce temperature to low if the sauce is bubbling too rapidly or the browned bits begin to turn too dark).
- Using tongs, discard onion halves, carrots, and basil stems. Add reserved tomatoes to sauce and stir to combine. Add fish sauce, if using. Season generously with salt and pepper and stir in minced herbs along with additional olive oil as desired. Serve immediately, or allow to cool at room temperature, transfer to airtight containers, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. The sauce can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
Image: Jess Ho / Pexels