I'm kind of wondering if the waitress I described had no idea what "home-made" really means. If she grew up in a household where cookies always come from a box, for example, she might consider Pillsbury Dough to be home-made cookies - after all, you cut up the dough and bake it yourself.Recipe, please? I've been looking for years for a pasta sauce that uses only whole tomatoes. All the ones I've found so far, even with fresh tomatoes, also add tomato paste.
I must admit, I got a bit of an eye-opener when my husband and I took an Italian cooking class and we made pasta sauce completely from scratch. I'd had no idea that starting with actual whole tomatoes was even a possibility.
I was starting to describe what I do, and realized that I probably need to make some tomato sauce and take notes, since it seems to be a thing where I go "OK, right, time to add the oregano" as I cook. But the basic idea is to either cut some bacon up small and fry it in the bottom or a saucepan, or heat the pan and add olive oil (different flavors, and the latter makes a vegetarian sauce).
Then cook diced yellow onion and garlic in the fat. When the onion and garlic are soft, add diced bell peppers (similar volume to the onion) and diced tomatoes (I used the canned Roma tomatoes). Add some combination of bay leaf, oregano, basil, and any other herbs you happen to be fond of. Start boiling water for pasta, and simmer the tomato sauce while the pasta cooks. When the pasta is ready, use a spoon and dish it out over the pasta. Serve, with optional grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.
I usually put tomato paste in at about the same time as the tomatoes, these days; for that version a regular ladle is also fine.
Well, at least I know what I'm having for dinner tonight.