The key to good sauce is picking good, ripe, flavorful tomatoes. I'd stay away from beefeaters/beefsteaks, which tend to lack in flavor, and if you're in the US, most of your grocery store tomatoes will be "fake ripened" (picked green when they're firmer and ripened via chemical spraying in the warehouse), so I recommend getting them from your local farmer's market. For me, it's a function of flavor and cooking - sun-ripened tomatoes are softer and taste sweeter and richer.
Here's what I used:
- Three large brandywine-heirloom tomatoes (romas are another good choice, though you'll need two or three more)
- 1/2 of a red pepper, diced
- 1/2 of a green pepper, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 shallot, sliced thin
- 2 fistfuls of basil, diced
- 1 medium jalapeno, diced
- 2 Tbsp of fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 Tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 Tbsp of crushed red pepper
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Start off by getting a large pot of water to a rolling boil, then dropping the tomatoes in for about a minute each, followed by dropping them into a bowl of ice water. This will split the skins and make removing them fairly simple. Next, quarter or eighth them so that you can remove the seeds and "tomato goop", in order to achieve a nice even texture.
In a small pot, season the bottom and toss in your garlic and shallot, cooking them until they turn a nice brown. Add in your tomato pieces, about 4 tsp of oil, and the rest of your seasonings and peppers and let it simmer at a low heat for twenty or so minutes. Toss in the blender to an even smooth sauce, then put back in the pot, bring to a boil, then simmer on low for another twenty minutes or so
Now's a good time to start your bruschetta. I like adding it to the meal as a touch of fresh flavor; a bit of a break from the pasta and sauce:
- Crusty hoagie roll cut into 1-inch thick slices
- 1/2 cup of chopped basil
- 6 or 7 diced grape tomatoes
- low-fat mozzarella
- 5 Tbsp of olive oil
- softened butter
- garlic salt
- salt and pepper
Mix your basil, tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl, and set aside. Spread the butter on the bread slices and sprinkle with the garlic salt, and place in the toaster-oven until they're nicely browned. Top with the tomato-basil mixture.
For me, the good balance of sauce to ravioli is having just enough to cover it. It also leaves you with enough sauce to have separate with from garlic bread the next day.