2 yellow onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups diced)
2 Tbsp olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp dried herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc)* mixed, total
1/2 cup red wine***
12 cups peeled and seeded fresh ripe tomatoes**
salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and cook slowly, on medium heat until they start to caramelize. They should be evenly brown and soft. Cooking them this way brings out the natural sweetness in the onions. Add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup of red wine and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and their juice and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook on low, stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours, or longer depending on the water content of the tomatoes. The sauce should be thick with much of the water evaporated to concentrate the flavor (sometimes I let it cook 4-5 hours over a very low flame). Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Dried herbs hold their flavor much longer than fresh herbs so when slow cooking. If you want to use fresh herbs, add them at the end of the cooking process, just before serving. Use whichever of those herbs you prefer for a total of 2 Tablespoons.
**Start with 4-5 lbs of fresh, ripe, tomatoes. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use 2 (28 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes, 1 (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes and 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste. When I use canned tomatoes, I always add a couple tablespoons of sugar to counteract the acidity of the canned tomatoes. I find I don’t have to add any sugar with the ripe tomatoes from my garden.
***Many of the comments below have asked “Do I have to use red wine?” The answer is no, but it does add to the flavor and if you’re going to have wine with dinner anyway, or have an open bottle, throw some in!
Yields about 2.5 quarts