Homemade tomato sauce

Homemade tomato sauce

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
4-6 people
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

This is the tomato sauce that is essential to the Italian kitchen. A large jar or plastic box of it will be found in most Italian fridges. It is used on pasta, to give body to a casserole, to make Babbo’s Eggs, or to pep up a soup (I often purée it and serve it as a soup in itself). Don’t skimp on the oil: if you don’t use a generous amount you cannot cook the onions for long enough to get the sweetness out of them that balances the acidity of the tomatoes, and they would burn at the edges instead of sweating slowly and becoming translucent. Use an Italian brand of plum tomatoes – they usually taste better than from anywhere else – and always buy whole tomatoes instead of chopped, which can be watery. This sauce doesn’t freeze brilliantly due to the water content but it will last up to five days in the fridge.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5–7 minutes, stirring, until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the tomatoes and crush them in the pan with a potato masher to break them up. Rinse each tin out with a 1/4 tin of cold water and add this to the saucepan. Simmer over a low heat, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Variation: Tomato soup

  • Blend the tomato sauce with a stick blender until smooth. Serve as a soup dressed with a swirl of good olive oil and a handful of grated Parmesan.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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