I think I made the best tomato sauce I've ever made, for the project or otherwise, last week. That it wasn't the exact recipe from How to Cook Everything matters little.
On p. 502 of HTCE is Fast Tomato Sauce, with or without Pasta. But on p. 503 is where the recipe vaults into greatness. "20 Quick and Easy Ways to Spin Fast Tomato Sauce" is the real reason this is so great. Basically, it's two pages of stuff you can throw in to the sauce at various stages, turning it into a fast puttanesca, tomato pesto, roasted tomato sauce, whatever. But what I think Bittman is really saying, not to put words in the man's mouth, is that you should add whatever the hell you want to this tomato sauce. I know I've talked about it a lot before, but it's a classic template and pretty much anything goes, as long as it tastes good to you.
Anyway, last week I started with leeks in addition to the usual onions, and threw in some cut up red and yellow peppers. Once those were nice and soft I added a big can of tomatoes, let it heat up a bit, and then a few tablespoons of tomato paste went in. It started to bubble together, smell great, thicken up a bit, at which point I pureed it in the food processor. I like doing this for two reasons. The main reason is that I prefer a really smooth tomato sauce on pasta, and I'm not crazy about chunks in my tomato sauce. If I were doing this without pasta, I probably wouldn't puree it. The second reason is that you can really half-ass the chopping if you know everything's gonna go in the food processor later on.
Alright, so it was a lot more vibrant and colorful all chunky like that, and I think if I were doing this without pasta, I'd leave it be. Anyway, after it was pureed I threw in these garlicky olives I had roughly chopped (this was the only garlic I added) and a little more olive oil. Ate it over pasta, which you might've guessed.
My only regret is that I didn't make more...