What do people recommend using when a recipe calls for "tomato sauce"? Would that usually indicate the canned stuff? If so, is there a good homemade substitute?
Making your own is pretty damn easy. What do you need? Tomatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, olive oil, possibly anchovies, possibly fresh basil. Or if you want to skip that step just buy the stuff in a jar.
I think most recipes that call for "tomato sauce" mean the purée that comes in a can by companies like Muir Glen or Hunts, et al.
I normally don't pay much attention and still use a can of San Marzano's, crush them, and strain out the seeds and skins later.
I am with Chef June, the cans of tomato sauce are fine, although Muir Glenn makes a fire roasted variety that brings a nice flavor of charred bits of skin to the party. Pomme by parmalac is another great brand as well. And the king of all maters is the San Marzano...unless you have a family member with a green thumb.
But all kidding aside...in most recipes that call for tomato sauce you can even add crushed tomato, diced tomato and all the juice from the can or even the whole tomatoes from the can pretty interchangeably.
If I have some squishy ripe tomatoes on the counter, I have been known to throw them in the blender and dump them in the recipe. The color isn't fire engine red, but tasty none the less.
For this recipe, I imagine you could simply whirl a couple of skinned, seeded plum tomatoes in a blender since it calls for basic, unseasoned sauce from a can. Depending on the tomatoes, you may have to thin it a little with water.