Homemade tomato sauce is the secret indulgence of many backyard vegetable gardeners. It takes quite a few tomatoes to make a savory sauce (about five pounds for every six cups), but the vivid fresh flavor is worth it. Tomato sauce can be the base for lots of autumn and winter comfort foods like stew, minestrone soup and chili, and the bright, garden goodness of homemade sauce will enhance almost any tomato-based recipe.

If you've carefully blended your tomato sauce to a smooth consistency only to discover that the end result isn't as thick and rich as you'd like, there are still some things you can do to save the day. Thin sauce isn't a disaster, it's an opportunity.