I feel like it is a rite of Italian passage to have your own sauce/gravy recipe, so being 1/4 Italian I need to have this under my culinary belt. My mother is not Italian but makes a mean red sauce, my aunt on my fathers side however makes the most epic red sauce & when paired with the meatballs she and my uncle make it is actual heaven. This combo is famous amongst the family & even though vegetarian I HAVE to eat one whenever I go there and they make (it would be a sin not to). My mom has tried to replicate their recipe but to no avail haha. *Sorry Mom still love you*
I did some studying (how lame of me I know) and decided to combine some elements of some of the most popular recipes I came across. My recipe is below! Note to everyone, I LOVE GARLIC so you may want to add a little less if you are not as big of a fan as I am.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 medium carrot, peeled
7 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 15-oz can “no salt added” diced tomatoes ( I like to use unsalted because then you can control the saltiness)
6 fresh basil leaves, rough chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to finish
First chop your onions, garlic, and peel your carrots! I just learned how to properly cut an onion thanks to Gordon Ramsey, I used to make such a mess and have uneven cuts!
Then chop your basil! I love fresh basil, hopefully I can keep this alive for longer than all the other plants in my apartment. Once chopped you are ready to begin!
Heat olive oil in a medium (at least 3 quart) pot over medium heat. Add onion, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add carrot and garlic and cook until carrot is soft, about 10 minutes.
Increase the heat to high, then add the balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar will deglaze the pan & begin to reduce into a heavenly mixture. Stir until almost all the liquid is gone. Add the diced tomatoes and basil and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Season with freshly ground pepper, cover, and simmer 45 minutes.
Uncover the pot and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes!
When the mixture has cooled slightly, you can either transfer to a blender for an extremely smooth mixture or use an immersion blender like the one in the image below (mine is an ancient hand me down, I am sure there are fancier versions out there now). Transfer to small mason jars and freeze or serve (will keep for 5 days in fridge). I like to use the teeny mason jars to freeze sauce because usually I am cooking for one, and it is much simpler to defrost a single serving. All in all, this recipe came out really good! I needed to let the balsamic vinegar reduce a bit more, as there was a slight bitter taste…so lesson learned.