Applesauce is so simple that sharing an easy applesauce recipe seems a little redundant. But there is a right way to make it. First, leave the peels on. They add flavor, vitamins, and a little color you’ll remove them later when you run the sauce through the food mill. Second, do use the food mill — it creates the best velvety texture. Third, the amount of sugar you add depends on the apples you choose, so start with a tablespoon and keep adding and tasting until you get it right.
Adding 3 tablespoons of water to the pot creates just enough steam to break down the apples quickly. If you like a looser sauce, add another tablespoon or two of water after you put the apples through the food mill.
3-pounds (about 6 large) tender-sweet and tender-tart apples (see Apple Guide)
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus more to taste
3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot
Core the apples (do not peel), then cut into large chunks (about 2 inches). Put the apples and water in a pot over medium-high heat and cover. When the water begins producing vigorous steam, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples become quite tender and can be smashed with the back of a wooden spoon, 15 to 20 minutes.
Process the apples through a food mill. Add sugar, taste, and add another tablespoon or two as desired. Thin with additional water, if needed. Serve cold or at room temperature.