Daddy’s Drinkable Sauce – For My Mom

For months, I’ve been promising my Mom the recipe for what we, in my house, call Daddy’s Drinkable Sauce. I made it tonight, and I remembered to write it down. So here’s the recipe, Mom. For those of you who read this and aren’t my Mom, I forgive you.

Also, the sauce isn’t very drinkable at all. If anything, it would be more accurate to call it Daddy’s collection of tasty tomato chunks mixed with herbs and spices suitable to apply to pasta, eggplant parmesan, and homemade pizza. This will make about 2 jars worth of that.


  • 2 tbsp-ish Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Prefer Goya)
  • 2 – 29 Oz Cans Peeled Tomatoes (Prefer Cento Plain Peeled Tomatos)
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste (Prefer Contadina, not the Italian Herb variety)
  • 1/2 Medium Onion
  • 2 Medium Carrots Peeled
  • 4 Cloves Garlic (or thereabouts)
  • 2 tsp Sugar (This seems weird, but it makes the sauce. Skip it and it’s a little too acidic)
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper (better freshly ground)


IMG_9773Mince the Garlic, Chop up Half the Onion, Shred the Carrots. Squash the tomatoes with your BARE HANDS, like someone who hates tomatoes and must feel their end, personally.


1) Add the 2-ish tbps of Olive oil to a large pot so that it covers the bottom of the pot. Turn the burner on High. Let it simmer like you have a deep-seated anger for room temperature liquids. It will get hot. DON’T TOUCH IT. It’ll look placid, but it wants to burn you. Trust me on this.


2) Add the Onions and Garlic. Cook them for about a mIMG_9775inute or so, until they are aromatic and semi-translucent. It will smell good and remind you of your childhood. You laugh, but inside, memories from long ago are surfacing. You didn’t remember the color of your old sofa until now, did you?

3) Once you’ve gotten over the old memories of your Mom/Dad/Grandma cooking something in a harvest gold kitchen near the shag car

IMG_9776pet you won’t admit you owned, add the carrots. Cook ’em. Cook ’em lovingly. Carrots are much maligned, so make them feel good. Give them love for about a minute.

4) Then smother them with the whole can of Tomato Paste. They were getting clingy anyway.



5) Heat that up and mix it around a bit. It’ll smell good. Cue childhood memories, but this one is from when you scraped your knee. Tomato paste looks a bit scabby. Don’t judge me. You know I’m right. Look at it. It’s all you see now.

6) Add in spoonfuls of the manually crushed tomatoes. I don’t know if you need to temper the tomatoes like this, but add it in slowly anyway. It must make a difference, because I’ve never done it any differentlyIMG_9778 and it comes out great. 100% hit rate must mean it’s a necessary step.

7) Turn it down to medium heat. Completely useless picture below…


8) Grind a whole bunch of pepper. I don’t really measure spices so use your judgement here. Your judgement is probably better than mine, because when I was a teenager in the early 90’s, this is the hair I thought looked cool. Anyway, I put about as much pepper as you can see here. A goodly sum, if you will. If I need more, I add it later.

 9) I add dried Basil and Oregano in about the amount you see here. Again…judgement is key. About the size of 2 quarters in each palm of each herb will do it. I used to measure my spices. I also used to peg my pants (look it up, you’ll thank me because you’ll laugh so hard). I don’t do either anymore.


10) Add the salt. There it is, in my hand. That’s how much salt you should add. Looks to be about a teaspoon’s worth, give or take. If you go overboard, you’ll hate yourself. Your family will look at you with daggers in their eyes and wonder how you messed up so badly. If you think you haven’t added enough salt, you’re wrong. Let it cook a bit, then taste it again. It will taste better. Same with the pepper actually.


11) It’s gonna get weird now. Add two teaspoons of Sugar. First time I made this recipe, I didn’t add any sugar. My wife thoughtfully suggested it and I got all defensive. We talked long into the night about how that didn’t make any sense and why is she always back seat cooking and about how she’s stifling my creativity in the kitchen. I tried it. It was better. I haven’t questioned her since. She never lets me forget it. This makes the sauce drinkable and it’s not crazy. Just do it. Plus Prego has about 100 times as much sugar and you’ve probably eaten that in your lifetime. And that tastes like an apocalyptic wasteland devoid of any logic or reason.


12) Turn down the heat to low at this point and stir it every once in a while. I know you want to add more salt and pepper. You’re allowed to add a bit more pepper but don’t go crazy. Everything will just get better as it cooks. Don’t mess with it.

13) Let it simmer for 30-45 minutes. That’s it. I know some people simmer sauce for hours with a lid on. Not me. I don’t have time for that nonsense. I’m a busy man. Those kid videos won’t turn on themselves, you know. 30-45 minutes. Lid off. It will be chunky and drinkable.

I like to spoon mine into old Prego jars to remind Prego how much better it could have been. The glass jars thank me. My family thanks me, and it makes some fine pizza.