Simple Tomato Sauce
This simple, savory sauce is rich with tomato flavor. A few basil stems — or whatever herbs you’ve got on hand — add a welcome aromatic note, and a little zip with a blender or food mill leave it with a smooth, silky texture. Use in lasagna, pasta, pizza, or anywhere else you’d use a jar of store-bought marinara.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 6tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5cups diced yellow onions, red onions or shallots
- Fine sea salt
- 1(28-ounce) can whole peeled, diced, crushed or puréed tomatoes
- 4garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
- 4to 5 basil stems (optional)
- ¼teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
Step 1Set a medium Dutch oven or similar pot over medium heat, and add 4 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add onions and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring regularly, until onions are lightly golden and tender, 16 to 18 minutes.
Step 2In the meantime, pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and use hands to crush, if using whole tomatoes. Pour about 1 1/2 cups water into the can and swirl to rinse any remaining purée off the sides. Add the water to tomatoes in bowl and set aside.
Step 3Once onions are soft and golden, add garlic and cook, stirring, until it threatens to turn golden, about 90 seconds. Add tomato paste, if using, and cook until color deepens, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and season with salt. If using, add basil stems and red-pepper flakes. Stirring regularly, allow sauce to come to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until sauce tastes savory and all raw tomato flavor is gone, about 45 minutes.
Step 4Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Use a hand blender to purée, pass through a food mill or let cool, then purée using a blender or food processor. Tomato sauce can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated or frozen up to 3 months.