Momma’s Super Yummy Tomato Sauce

Originally Posted on The Yale Herald - Medium via UWIRE

Illustration by Paige Davis, MC ’21, YH Staff

My parents prioritized nightly sit-down family dinners from the get-go. I struggle to think of a night when we did not all sit around the dining room table (sometimes around the TV when Modern Family was on), eat some stew, pasta, or fish, and talk about our days. Though it bothered me at the time that I couldn’t take my dinner to my room and play Toontown after school, those nights have become some of my fondest memories. What I now appreciate so deeply about those meals is the joy my parents felt seeing their three children enjoy good food and each other’s company.

My decision to move off campus has presented me with the opportunity to relearn the dishes my mom made, so that I can share them with my friends here. Cooking is, after all, about 90 percent of the reason why I chose to leave behind the simplicity of a dining hall for the terror of my first groceries run as an independent “home-renter.” During the first week of this year, one of my first instincts was to make what my family calls “Momma’s super yummy tomato sauce.” Though it is not a family recipe per se — it originates from the owners and chefs of Le Cirque in New York, pared down for the nonprofessional — my siblings and I would shriek with excitement if we smelled it cooking when we came home from school. As such, it was the recipe I immediately turned to when throwing my small apartment-warming party. It’s one of the simplest recipes I have ever come across, yet it very well could be the homiest and most comforting (plus, it keeps for days). I texted my mom for the recipe, and I’m not sure if she has ever been so pleased to see a text from me. The heart-eyes, angel, and soup emojis gave away her excitement to pass down one of her favorite recipes.

Momma’s Super Yummy Tomato Sauce:

1 can of whole peeled tomatoes

1 stick of butter

1 “good-sized” onion (depends on how much you like onion)

1 to 2 cloves of garlic (also depends on how much you like garlic)

1 handful of fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Put the tomatoes and butter into a pot and let simmer over light to medium heat.

2. Chop onions and garlic (does not need to be super finely chopped). Shred basil leaves so that they look artisanal. Once the tomatoes are at a simmer and have begun to collapse a bit, add the onions, garlic, and basil into the pot.

3. Let the mixture simmer for a solid 30–40 minutes, stirring every so often and making sure that the tomatoes do eventually pop open. Add salt and pepper as you like it (nothing special about that).

4. Serve over pasta, chicken, or anything that could use a Super Yummy Tomato Sauce.


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