A good tomato sauce is the foundation for so many wonderful dishes – pizza, pasta, chicken, and fish. The sauce can be dressed up with mushrooms, meat, olives, wine, and vegetables.
Fresh parsley and fresh basil tend to be infested with aphids, thrips and other insects. Please check “Special Instructions” below for insect inspection instructions.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot or 1/2 large carrot, finely chopped
1 small stalk of celery, including the green tops, finely chopped
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, including the juice, or 1 3/4 pound of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large wide skillet on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and parsley. Stir to coat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened and cooked through. Remove cover and add the minced garlic. Increase the heat to medium high. Cook for garlic for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, including the juice and shredding them with your fingers if you are using canned whole tomatoes. Add the tomato paste and the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low simmer; reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered until thickened, about 15 minutes. If you want you can push the sauce through a food mill to give it a smooth consistency.
Insect Inspection of Fresh Herbs
Fresh parsley and basil (as well as the following herbs: cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme) are often used as spices or garnishing. Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of these herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.
Curly leaf parsley is very difficult to check. It is therefore recommended that only flat leaf parsley be used.
Vegetable spinners, power hoses, and light boxes are not always available in the home. We therefore recommend the following alternate procedure.
1. Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
2. Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.
3. Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
4. Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
5. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
6. If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.