Easy Tomato Sauce Recipe
…so much lore, so many possibilities
The tomato sauce recipe world is full of cults and their followers. There is the anchovy cult, the fresh tomatoes cult, the san marzano cult, the sugar cult— just to name a few. I remember reading reviews of Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce recipe and the criticism ranged from disagreements over the actual taste to long dissertations on why adding butter to the sauce makes it more of a French than Italian recipe. Hazan, in her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, beautifully answers the question of authenticity and origin. It is not to be found in any one place, she explains, “because it is everywhere”. So maybe you already have your go-to recipe. If you do, please share it in the comments with us. And if you don’t, give this one a chance, it might become your new favorite.
At our home, we like our tomato sauce smooth, not chunky; more rounded than acidic, balanced and not sweet, and enhanced with herbs that complement the tomato flavor. Made of the best ingredients, this tomato sauce is our go-to for pasta and pizza nights..
The earliest written English record I could find of a tomato sauce recipe was in the Simple Italian Cookery. This 1912 book by Antonia Isola has more than 150 recipes. On page 30 you can find three options of tomato sauce recipes. Surprisingly, all three involve straining the tomatoes through a sieve.
…the tomato originated in the coastal highlands of Western South America
The tomato, to many of us, is associated with Mediterranean cooking. But the truth of its origins is much closer to home. Peru, Ecuador and Northern Chile are where the oldest tomatoes have been traced, according to Andrew F. Smith, author of The Tomato In America: early history, culture and cookery.
Easy Authentic tomato sauce
by The Lore| March 2019
Homemade tomato sauce is better simply because you can make the exact sauce you want. Serve it warm with pasta or at room temperature as a side with some cheese and veggies for a light summer meal. It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.
- Prep time: 5 minutes
- Cook time: 15 minutes
- Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 tablespoon butter*
- 4 stalks fresh basil*
- 2 garlic cloves minced, preferably American grown*
- 2 tablespoons carrot juice (or 1 teaspoon of sugar if you don't have it)
- 1- 26 oz carton strained tomato sauce or puree
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese*
- Optional: black pepper and Italian seasoning*
- Heat a bottom heavy medium pan over medium heat for 30 seconds then add the butter. Let it melt and start to slightly brown, 1 minute.
- Add the basil and saute for one minute, scraping the bottom of the pan so it doesn't burn.
- Add the garlic and keep stirring for one minute or until the garlic starts sticking to the bottom and turning golden.
- Add the tomato sauce and carrot juice and stir a few times, scraping off anything that might have stuck to the bottom or sides. Let it reach a steady simmer then lower the temperature slightly.
- Add the salt and parmesan and stir.
- Cover with the lid and let simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and spice as you like.
- Serve warm or let it cool completely before refrigerating it. Enjoy!
- We suggest intentionally going lower on the salt in case you end up using the sauce with a saltier companion such as cheese.
- You can make this same recipe using fresh tomatoes, the only difference is you will need an extra 45 minutes to peel the tomatoes and stew them long enough so they dissolve into their own juices. Follow the same order of steps and add 3 pounds of ripe peeled and cored tomatoes instead of the tomato sauce. Let it simmer for 30 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients.
- The only time I prefer using fresh tomatoes, is in the summer when the tomatoes are sweet and I like to eat my tomato sauce chilled with a side of cheese or veggies.
- Love anchovies? Add two good quality anchovies with the basil. No one will realize that you added them because it won't taste fishy... but the flavor of the sauce will be deeper and almost meaty.
- Pomi is available at local grocery stores such as Safeway and Whole Foods. It can cost anywhere between $3.80 and $6 per carton so it is not the least expensive option. You can print a coupon ($1 off per carton), and use it at the store. Check out their website: https://pomicoupons.com/
- Before serving the sauce you might want to take out the stalks of basil and add a splash of high quality olive oil. I usually keep the basil in the sauce and serve it to myself.
Denotes items that we prefer to be organic. Read more about it here: Items to buy organic when grocery shopping.