My Best Tomato Sauce

This is my 'go to' tomato sauce for any pasta or casserole. It is less time consuming then perhaps a regular tomato sauce because of the addition of balsamic vinegar (which makes it taste like you have simmered it for longer then you did).

Ingredients (makes about 3 cups):
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp margarine
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 small red pepper, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (I also like to use several fresh tomatoes)
1 5.5 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
dash of hot sauce (optional)
pepper to taste

1) In a medium saucepan, saute oil, margarine and onions over medium heat. Stir periodically for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to caramelize. Add garlic and red pepper, and saute for an additional minute. Add all other ingredients and let simmer for about 15 minutes. If you like a thinner sauce, you can blend the sauce in a blender or processor until smooth, but I prefer mine slightly chunky. Enjoy with your favorite pasta!

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