To make a great tomato sauce you need really good tomatoes. Making fresh tomato sauce can be amazing, but it can also be bland if the tomatoes are out of season. Mario Batali has a wonderful tomato sauce recipe. I had it for the first time at my friend Kathryn’s place, and I still remember how great it was. She told me that Batali specifically uses canned San Marzano tomatoes grown in the Valle del Sarno in Italy. I haven’t used any other kind of canned tomatoes since then.
I slightly tweaked the recipe to make a good overall basic tomato sauce that I can use for both pasta and pizza.
INGREDIENTS (makes about 3 cups of sauce):
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ medium onion finely diced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 3 cloves garlic (2 cloves chopped, 1 clove thinly sliced)
- 28 oz. can whole peeled San Marzano Imported (DOP certified) Italian Plum Tomatoes
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 leaves of fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Be careful to not burn the garlic.
- Add the thyme sprigs, basil leaves and tomatoes. With your hands, take the tomatoes from the can, crush and break them apart into small pieces. Add about half the liquid from the can and discard the rest. Let it simmer uncovered for 15-20 min to thicken the sauce.
- Remove and discard the herb sprigs.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Use now, store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Serve the tomato sauce with bucatini, cooked al dente, with shredded pecorino. You will be surprised by how much flavor this tomato sauce has.