This is one of those staple recipes that literally takes five minutes to get all the ingredients in a pot. The smell of tomatoes gently cooking with hints of garlic, basil and sweet onion evokes the best kind of food memories, bringing me right back to childhood holiday’s spent with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins scattered about the Bronx, Queens and Long Island. Where there was a pot of simmering tomato sauce, there was always other good things to follow like baked ziti, spaghetti, meatballs or Italian sausages.
You can use canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes. Using canned tomatoes are quick but when the sweet spot of summer hits and ripe tomatoes are available at the farmers market, it’s well worth it to make fresh.
I also like making a bigger batch because if you have leftover sauce you can always find a use for it over the next few days…like a dip for crusty garlic bread, or baking some eggs in the sauce for a tasty breakfast, or adding some wine or cream for a reclaimed pasta sauce. This is such a summer essential I hope you make it often and enjoy<3.
2 (28 oz.) cans, whole San Marzano tomatoes
OR 2# of your favorite ripe tomato variety
1 large carrot, shredded
1 yellow sweet onion, quartered
3-5 garlic cloves, crushed
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)
3 T. Butter
a handful of fresh basil, stems left on
a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1.) If you’re using canned tomatoes skip to step #9
2.) If you’re using fresh tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
3.) Prepare your ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and enough cold water to just barely cover the ice.
4.) Wash the tomatoes, remove the stem and with a knife and cut a small “X” in the bottom of each one.
5.) When the water comes to a boil you are ready to blanch the tomatoes. Working in batches, gently place tomatoes in the water (you don’t want to overfill the pot with tomatoes to the point where the water stops boiling) and cook the tomatoes for about a minute, or until you see the skin start to wrinkle and separate from the tomato.
6.) Using a slotted spoon transfer the cooked tomatoes to the ice bath and let hang out there for a few minutes until they are completely cool then transfer these tomatoes to an empty bowl.
7.) Once all the tomatoes are blanched and cooled, you can peel the tomatoes easily with your fingers.
8.) Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor a few pulses for chunky sauce or a bit more for smooth sauce.
9.) In a large heavy bottomed pot, put canned or fresh tomatoes
10.) Add carrot, onion, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, basil, butter and red pepper flakes if you want to add some heat.
11.) Bring tomato sauce to a simmer and continue cooking for about 45 minutes.
12.) Check seasoning and adjust as necessary. Trust your taste buds! You might need a bit more sugar, salt or pepper depending upon your preference.
12.) With a slotted spoon remove the onion, garlic and basil stems and you are ready to use or serve!
Component in Action
-Serve with your favorite pasta
-Serve with your favorite grilled meats
-Add a bit of white wine and saffron and serve with grilled fish
-Use as a dip for toasted garlic bread or roasted veggies like cauliflower or eggplant