10 In Sauce

Classic Tomato Sauce

Classic Tomato Sauce

Since we love to cook in the Mediterranean style, we’ve been in search of the perfect homemade tomato sauce. I was fully willing to make some sacrifices in this endeavor – such as spending some effort in the kitchen to achieve the ideal taste. Since many sauce recipes call for chopping and sautéing onions, carrots, and celery, and then simmering the sauce for an hour or more, I was prepared to put in some time. However after thorough investigation, I am pleased to report that only a maximum of 15 minutes and a handful of ingredients is needed to achieve the flavor I’ve been looking for.

The preparation is simple – just finely chop some garlic (the hardest part!), barely sauté it olive oil with some red pepper flakes, and then simmer with tomatoes for 5 to 10 minutes until you have the consistency and taste you are looking for. You could also add fresh or dried herbs like basil, oregano, or parsley, but only if you’re feeling fancy – the taste is robust enough on its own.

The result is a delicious sauce you can serve with pasta, gnocchi, lasagna, calzones – you name it.  And you’ll find jarred store-bought sauces may become a thing of the past…becoming an Italian grandmother is just that simple!

Classic Tomato Sauce
Serves: 1 quart
What You Need
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
What To Do
  1. Mince 3 cloves garlic.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Over medium high heat, stir as the mixture heats up, and sauté for around 45 seconds until the garlic sizzles but before it starts to brown.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes. Heat at a gentle simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken.
  4. Remove from the heat. Stir in a few teaspoons of lemon juice to smooth out the flavors, and additional kosher salt (if necessary) to taste.
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks


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  • Reply
    January 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Yum. Simple and quick, just what I need with two little ones running around. Awesome photo by the way!

    • Reply
      January 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Thanks!! I already can’t wait to make it again. Hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    il sabotatore
    January 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I use only tomatoes, oil, salt and basil and the result is great. To do this I use fresh tomatoes. You should try it.

    Hope you like this:

    The first historical recipe of tomato sauce was described by duke Ippolito Cavalcanti, in 1839, in the book “Cucina Casereccia in Dialetto Napoletano” written only in Neapolitan Dialect.
    It say: “Take the tomatoes and cook them until they are soft. Continue cooking until they loose all the water. Remove sauce from fire, let it cool and add olive oil, salt and fresh basil”.

    • Reply
      January 6, 2011 at 11:19 am

      Wow, thanks for the authentic Italian recipe!! We will definitely give this a try once we have some tomatoes in the garden. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    When cooking Italian, it’s all about the sauce. This is a sauce. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Medifast Coupon
    January 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    What a simple and perfect tomato sauce. The red pepper flakes give it that extra something, nice recipe! A healthy sauce that go wish so many dishes.

  • Reply
    January 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I love simple delicious sauces like this! Definitely going to try this one out!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    it was great! I made it for a group and everyone loved it!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 8:06 am

    This is awesome! I am currently living in South Korea where ingredients to make certain Western foods can be hard to find (if at all), but these ingredients are simple enough one can find them anywhere…thank you for posting.

    p.s. thank you also for posting the tortillas recipe because I have been buying ours at $6 for a bag of 8 here in order to sustain our love for Mexican food. Seeing the recipe, I recently bought some masa harina from iherb.com, and can’t wait to make my own! So excited I could find the flour to make fresh ones for half the price that I buy a bag of pre-made ones. ^^

    • Reply
      December 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      Oh, that is wonderful! I’m so glad you were able to find masa harina online! Let us know if the tortillas work out — they take a bit of practice, but become easier over time :)

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