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We love to cook from scratch – it’s something both Brian and I enjoy doing, especially when we’re able to work together in the kitchen. Of course, with us both working full time and having three children 6 & under, that doesn’t often leave us with much time to spend on meals. We’ve got one staple, though, that we have used during many a busy week. I’ve referenced it on the blog before, but I want to show you how easy it is to make homemade pasta sauce… and how it’s even easier to turn that sauce into a delicious tomato-basil soup for leftovers.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups carrot, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 28-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 small can tomato paste
- Fresh basil, chopped (we use about 14 leaves, but adjust according to your taste)
Add carrots, onion and butter to your skillet, and sauté until they’re tender (don’t rush this process or your sauce won’t end up nearly as smooth).
Add your tomatoes & paste, and stir everything together well. Tear basil into smaller pieces and add to the mixture.
Use an immersion blender to puree everything together. If you don’t have an immersion blender, (carefully!!) pour the mixture into a blender or food processor to puree the mixture.
When you’re done, your sauce will look like this:
A delicious pairing for your pasta!
But let’s say the next night you’re not really in the mood for pasta. You’ve got sauce leftover (this recipe makes quite a bit), so what do you do? With one simple ingredient, you turn the sauce into a delicious soup that works great alongside a loaf of French bread or some toasty grilled cheese sandwiches. Just put your sauce back in a pot on the stove over low heat, and add cream or half & half (add and mix a little at a time, until the soup acquires the level of creaminess you prefer). Voila!
I also have to share this tip with you, because – as avid basil users – it has made our lives so much easier. We would often purchase basil on Sunday at our weekly trip to the grocery store, and by the time we were ready to use it later in the week it was darker and wilted, not fresh and crisp like we’d prefer. I had tried keeping it in the fridge (which I learned was a no-no) and even tried keeping it at room temperature with paper towels wrapped around it to absorb any moisture. No luck! Still, our basil wasn’t staying fresh. Then I got this tip… it’s SO easy and it kept our basil perfectly fresh until we were ready to use it on a Thursday.
Take your basil out of its package and put it (stem down) into a cup with about an inch of water in it. Put a plastic bag over top of the basil, and set it in a place that won’t get too warm. SO easy, right? Now you never have to fall victim to wilted basil again!